An Abridged History of the NC Outer Banks

  • olympus2
  • 14 December 2022

The Outer Banks is more than what you see in your favorite hit teen TV drama. More than the setting of your favorite romance novel. More than your favorite place to catch a good wave or go fishing. The Outer Banks may be one of the best family vacation destinations, but they also have a deeply rich and beautiful history! So many remarkable historic events have occurred on the shores of the Outer Banks! You may view the Outer Banks as more than just beautiful beaches after learning the history of OBX.

It is believed that Native Americans were the first people to settle on the Outer Banks thousands of years ago. Many of the Outer Banks islands are named after the original Native American inhabitants! Though most of these tribes disappeared by the 17th century they are still an integral part of the Outer Banks history.

Throughout history there have always been people captivated by the beauty of the Outer Banks. During the early 1500s the islands saw lots of explorers from Europe! You could say the Europeans who explored the islands in the early 1500s were the first tourists! No one knows for sure who the first explorer was that found the islands. But we do know who the first settlers were! The first 116 settlers landed on Roanoke Island. They are now known as the settlers of the Lost Colony after disappearing three years after landing on the island.  There are many theories as to what happened to the Lost Colony, but it is still a mystery today.

Because of the failed lost colony most settlers avoided the islands. Until the late 1700s, pirates and smugglers were the only people that the islands attracted! During the 1800s people started to move to the islands. Lots of businessmen and plantation owners built summer homes there! Nags Head then became one of the first official tourist destinations among the islands. You can still see some of those beautiful homes along the ocean front today!

In the early 1900s more bridges and roads being built around the islands meant more tourists! Some of the islands most famous visitors are the Wright Brothers. After a friend had written to them about the islands, the brothers thought they would be the perfect spot for their experiment. Three years after arriving in Kill Devil Hills, the Wright brothers manned the first ever flight! Kill Devil Hills is now known as the birthplace of Aviation because of the Wright Brothers. There is actually a national memorial there where you can learn more about it!

Today the Outer Banks has many gorgeous busy beach towns populated with the sweetest people and of course, the best smoothie shop in the world! (Our humble opinion). The Outer Banks may be known for their beautiful sandy beaches, but as you can see there is way more than meets the eye here! The next time you visit stop by one of the many historical sites. You may fall in love with the scenic Outer Banks all over again!

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