Source: Charles II, King of England, “Instructions for Sir William Berkeley Governor and Captain Generall of Virginia in Relation to the Settling and Planting Some Parte of the Province of Carolina.” [Carolina], 1663, The Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 1 (Raleigh, N.C.: P. M. Hale, Printer to the State, 1886), pp. 50-51. Documenting the American South. University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007.

These instructions from King Charles II of England to William Berkeley, the governor of Virginia at the time, set out how and where to settle land in the Carolinas. These instructions were given in 1663 when there was only one permanent settlement, near the Albemarle Sound, in North Carolina.[1]In the document there are instructions on where to settle, how much land to settle and how much each settler gets, how much to charge for rent, and what to do if the Governor cannot be supported by this land.

This document is relevant to the Fundamental and Colonial time period because it details what was important in settling lands—namely being near water. Being near a river was crucial because it allowed for trading and fishing, both of which are critical food sources. The instructions on how to portion out land allows the reader to glimpse what boundaries were originally like in the Colonial period and how settlers distinguished between their different plots of land for farming. King Charles II also mentions that they should plant on hillsides so they can cultivate vineyards like those in the Canary Islands. At this time, wine from the Canaries was an important export to England and so this comment gives insight into what was popular in the English diet and what food stuffs English settlers may have brought over from their motherland.[2] Additionally, it is important to think about how these instructions were carried out, and if they were carried out correctly. Were the Proprietors able to carry out a task set out by a man who had never been to the land? Were the differences between the land in the Carolinas and the land already settled in Virginia? What issues could the settlers have run into with setting boundaries, in regards to Native Americans who had already settled there?



[1] “Session 1: Settlement and Migration.” NC Museum of History.

[2] “Canary Islands.” New World Encyclopedia.



“Canary Islands.” New World Encyclopedia. January 7, 2017. Accessed October 07, 2018.

“Session 1: Settlement and Migration.” Session 1: Settlement and Migration | NC Museum of History. Accessed October 07, 2018.


Madison Fly