Pamlico River
The Pamlico River is a tidal river
Tidal river
A tidal river is a river, or more typically a stretch of a river, whose flow and level is influenced by tides. An example of a tidal river is the portion of the Connecticut River flowing from Windsor Locks, Connecticut, to the Atlantic Ocean. The Brisbane River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean...

 that flows into Pamlico Sound, in North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

  in the United States of America. It is formed by the confluence of the Tar River
Tar River
The Tar River is a river that is approximately long, of northeast North Carolina flowing generally southeast to an estuary of Pamlico Sound. The Tar River becomes the tidal Pamlico River once it underpasses the U.S...

 and Tranters Creek.
The historic Tuscarora tribe, an Iroquoian-language group originally from western New York, had been well established in North Carolina, including along the Pamlico River, before European contact. The encroachment of settlers and their selling Tuscarora into slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 increased tensions between the groups. These led to the Tuscarora War
Tuscarora War
The Tuscarora War was fought in North Carolina during the autumn of 1711 until 11 February 1715 between the British, Dutch, and German settlers and the Tuscarora Native Americans. A treaty was signed in 1715....

 (1711-1715), in which the Tuscarora led by Chief Hancock were defeated. Most Tuscarora migrated to New York, where they were sponsored by the Oneida and by 1722 were admitted to the Iroquois Confederacy as the Sixth Nation. Most of the survivors in North Carolina were removed to a reservation in Bertie County, North Carolina
Bertie County, North Carolina
-External links:**...

 in 1718. Since European contact, they had lost much population due to lack of immunity to new infectious diseases, followed by the casualties of war.

English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

, Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

, and Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 settlers moved to the region from Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 for larger tracts of cheaper land. A cluster of German
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 and Swiss settlers also moved to the region from the southeastern settlement of New Bern, North Carolina
New Bern, North Carolina
New Bern is a city in Craven County, North Carolina with a population of 29,524 as of the 2010 census.. It is located at the confluence of the Trent and the Neuse rivers...

. They established such towns as Washington and Bath. The latter was home and operating base for the pirate Blackbeard
Edward Teach , better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies....

, who was finally pardoned by Governor Charles Eden
Charles Eden
Charles Eden was the second Governor of the separate Colony of North Carolina.-Public service:Eden was appointed Governor of North Carolina on 13 July 1713. He is best known for his actions to end piracy in the area...

. Most settlers engaged in tobacco farming in the Pamlico/Tar River basin, importing numerous enslaved Africans to work on the labor-intensive crop. For years the river corridor remained somewhat of a lawless backwater.

The Pamlico River was a key strategic position during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The river is the site of the sunken Union battleship, the USS Picket. The U.S. Route 17
U.S. Route 17
U.S. Route 17 or U.S. Highway 17 is a north–south United States highway. The highway spans the southeastern United States and is close to the Atlantic Coast for much of its length. The highway's southern terminus is at Punta Gorda, Florida, at an intersection with U.S. Route 41...

 Bridge, which connects Washington, North Carolina
Washington, North Carolina
Washington is a city in Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 9,744 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Beaufort County. The closest major city is Greenville, approximately 20 miles to the west....

 with nearby Chocowinity
Chocowinity, North Carolina
Chocowinity is a town in Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 720 at the 2008 census...

, splits the river. That portion heading westward upstream is called the Tar River.


Though the river no longer has any steamers and cargo ships floating down it, it still carries hundreds of boats per year. It is a popular fishing spot. Tobacco farming continues on agricultural land.

In the last ten years, periodic pfiesteria
Pfiesteria is a genus of heterotrophic dinoflagellates that has been associated with harmful algal blooms and fish kills. Pfiesteria complex organisms were claimed to be responsible for large fish kills in the 1980s and 1990s on the coast of North Carolina and in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay...

 outbreaks have appeared in the river, due to an abundance of nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 and phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 in the water. These elements come from polluted runoff that originates at upstream pig farms and a phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 mine on the south bank of the river. The abundance of nitrogen and phosphate periodically produces massive fish kill
Fish kill
The term fish kill, known also as fish die-off and as fish mortality, is a localized die-off of fish populations which may also be associated with more generalised mortality of aquatic life...

s and has contaminated the area's shellfish population. Seaweed grows on previously sandy beaches, since phosphate and nitrogen are common fertilizers.

While fishkills were a bigger problem around the year 2000, state authorities still warn against eating the river's shellfish. Though the river still faces some environmental problems, it is a beautiful tidal river that supports a variety of aquatic species. It is linked to the history of thousands of years of human settlement, from the earliest indigenous peoples, through the Tuscarora and later European and American settlers.

External links

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