Geography and North Carolina’s Tuscarora War, 1711-1715

At dawn on September 22, 1711, over five hundred Tuscarora, Core, Neuse, Pamlico, Weetock, Machapunga, and Bear River Indian warriors swept down on the unsuspecting settlers living along Neuse and Pamlico Rivers of North Carolina. Over the next few days, they destroyed hundreds of farms and plantations and killed at least 140 men, women, children, slaves as well, and took about forty captives. And so began the Tuscarora War, North Carolina’s bloodiest colonial war and surely one of the most brutal. In a way, the North Carolina geography caused the war, drew it out, helped and hurt both Indian and colonist, and finally helped bring the war to a close. In the meantime, the war produced innovative defensive fortifications by the Indians while both North Carolina and South Carolina turned to enslaving any Indian captives they took and selling them out of the country. The war eventually devolved into a series of attacks, counterattacks, and slave raids that devastated both the Indians and North Carolina itself. Before it ended in February 1715, it would draw in Senecas from New York, Cherokees from the Appalachians, Virginia Indians and colonial officials, and colonial militias from South Carolina and their Yamasee, Catawba, and Wateree allies. A war without mercy, the Tuscarora War pointed a new direction in the development of the colony and later the state of North Carolina. This talk is taken from his book: The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies, published in 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press in Chapel Hill.


podium, two small tables, screen, digital projection system