What's in a Name: New Hanover County

By Colin Hackman - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County was founded 280 years ago and is one of the oldest counties in the state.  So why is there a "new" in the name New Hanover when the county is so old?

The story about the word is all about impressions, advantages, and trade, just like our modern port that moves more than 3 million tons of cargo a year.

The merchants in the ports of the 18th century were looking for any tax break or tariff advantage they could find, and counties and cities were being named for the ruling royal muckety mucks across the British Colonial South.

According to New Hanover County Historical Librarian Beverly Tetterton, the name "Hanover" comes from King George, I and his family.  George had united Britain and what is now Northern Europe under one reign: The House of Hanover.  The House of Hanover ruled Britain until Queen Victoria passed in 1901.

"If you name your county for the king hopefully he will look favorably on you," said Tetterton.

New Bern, Brunswick, Mecklinburg, and Charlotte are all places named after George and his family.  Even Carolina herself was named after King Charles' Latin name, Carolus.

All the names intended to do one thing, seek favor with the rulers.

"That would mean business trade and shipping you would get a little bit of favor if you named your new land after the king," said Tetterton.

If you'd like to learn more about why a certain place is called what it is, email Colin at whatsinaname@wect.com.

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