If there was a word to describe East Carolina it would be overlooked. In many ways it should be a more prominent state, but somehow history always seems to push it to second place, or overshadow it with more important events elsewhere.
East Carolina was started as a British colonial possession, but at that point it was just Carolina. The colonial state produced sugar, rice, and like Virginia to the north, large amounts of tobacco. The state also garnered a large colonial garrison at Fort Winthrop and at Fort Vixenburg.
Carolina was a fence state, its wealth depended on exports of cash crops to England, and cut off from those revenues many thought the state would wither like a grape neglected on the vine. Eventually enough support was mustered for the state to join the Revolution, but the seeds were planted for the creation of East and West Carolina. Several pivotal battles were fought in Carolina as the British sought the divide and conquer the colonies. The battles of Fort Winthrop, Fort Vixenburg, and the naval battles at the Jericho Straits, Osborne Roads, and Port Rolfe ensured the British were unable to achieve this goal. The battles also tied up a large portion of the British loyalist forces, ensuring that Washington, the Army of the Potomac and others were able to secure victory over the superpower of the British Empire.
Civil War Era
The Civil War split Carolina in two. The western portion of the state was enjoying a trickling of industrialist, and was reaping profits from coal and hard rock mining, while the eastern portion was heavily invested in slave plantations. When the Civil war erupted, some of the battles in Carolina between East and West were as vicious as the well known battles, just in a smaller scale. Most of these battles are overlooked, such as the revolts in Port Rolfe were Westerners set fire to the shipworks, or the Coalrunners, who helped eastern slaves escape to the western part of the state and then to the north. When the tide of the war shifted, Union armies decimated East Carolina. The Massacre at Vixenburg is a well known war atrocity, as is the sacking of Van Buren City. These, history being cruel, were overshadowed by Sherman's march to Atlanta and the burning of that city. There are still historical hatreds in East Carolina that are burned into the blood of the descendents of the survivors. Many blacks in East Carolina dislike Union memorabilia as many blacks were either pressed into rifle companies that bore the brunt of the Carolina Regulars, Tarheels and the elite Carolina Sharpshooter units, or were pressed into hard labor supporting the Union forces.
The Prohibition Era
Few places flaunted Prohibition like East Carolina. Basin City became a well known den of vice and corruption. With a steady flow of moonshine and bootleg liquor coming out of the Appalachians, and from Atlantic shipping, speak-easies, mobsters, flappers, and tommy guns were part and parcel with antebellum homes, pecan pies, and rice growing in the fields as symbolic of the state. During this time, several cities and states repealed Prohibition, and spent years locked in legal battles with the Federal government. Federal agents found that local police and state police forces would not support them in their efforts, and at many times would either actively mislead them, or obstruct their progress in prosecuting criminals. The flow of money made the state wealthy, both legally and illegaly. When Prohibition ended, Basic City exploded as the city of Sin on the east coast. With legal gambling, drinking, and prostitution, high rollers could enjoy the decadent life in the lap of southern comfort rather than boggy Atlantic City, or the sufferable heat of Vegas.
WWII and the Industrial Era
With ample mining, a large population, well established shipworks, foundries, and other implements of heavy industry East Carolina boomed during the Second World War. Millions flocked to the state to find work, and millions were shipped to Europe from the Port Rolfe naval base. While Norfolk and places like Newport gained fame as ship builders, East Carolina carried out the heavy unglorious work of churning out destroyers, merchantmen, and assorted light cruisers. No Battleships or carries slipped from her shores, the sheer tonnage of warship the state put into the water easily rivals the bigger warship builders. The Heavy Cruiser Vixenburg was cited for valor in the Mediterranean theatre, and the destroyer Vallingdingham was lost in Operation Torch.
The Modern Age
Van Buren City - the capital of East Carolina, the VBC is an economic hub on the eastern seaboard. It is noted for its shipworks, banking industry, and harkens back to the gentile era of the deep south with colonnades, mossy oak trees, and an emphasis on a vibrant street culture. It is a hybrid creature that is part Atlanta, part Los Angeles.
Basin City - The Vegas of the East Coast, Basin City has legalized gambling and prostitution, as well as a thriving porn industry that is rather easily outmatched by California. Basin City is noted for it's history of organized crime, vice, and a long tradition of blue collar work, as the city has a number of textile mills, foundries, cattle processing centers, and lumber mills.
Vixenburg - located in the Appalachians, Vixenburg is a prosperous mix of tourist trap, ski chalet, and mountain community. It is noted for it's high property values, its quality university campus, and non-reliance on the coal industry in a part of the state dominated by coal mining.
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Update: Out with ye, cleaning out the in work box. Not going to finish this one.
I like all of the detail on this one - how it evolved and changed over time.