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The Lords Proprietors of Carolina

King Charles II


On March 24, 1663, Charles II granted to the Lords Proprietors a slice of North America running from the Atlantic to the Pacific, lying between 36 degrees north latitude on the north and 31 degrees on the south. This huge section of continent was granted absolutely to the following men, to be financed by them, and for them to profit by, and to rule, with the help or interference of such a local government as they might permit. Above them was only the King. In the order named in Charles' charter they were: the Earl of Clarendon, the Duke of Albemarle, Lord Craven, Lord Berkeley, Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkeley, and Sir John Colleton. The most important of these was Lord Ashley (Anthony Ashley Cooper), who specified the street plan for the new city and whose secretary, the philosopher John Locke, wrote the Fundamental Constitution of Carolina.

Two years later, the charter was amended to raise the north line 30 minutes and the south line by two degrees. In other words, the huge slice of North America that was Carolina included: the present states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, a small part of Missouri, most of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, the southern half of California, the southern tip of Nevada, the north part of Florida, and a slice of northern Mexico.