1. The Battle of Stono Ferry: On December 31, 1778, the Battle of Stono Ferry took place in Charleston, South Carolina, which at the time was part of North Carolina. The American forces attempted to retake the city from the British, but the battle was ultimately a stalemate.
2. Raleigh's First Public Hanging: On December 31, 1811, Raleigh, North Carolina conducted its first public execution by hanging. The condemned man, Henry Singleton, had been convicted of murder.
3. North Carolina Becomes a State: On December 31, 1776, North Carolina officially became a state after ratifying the United States Constitution. Today, the First in Freedom license plate is a nod to the state's role in American history.
4. Last Day of Slavery: On December 31, 1865, slavery was formally abolished in North Carolina. The state was one of the last to ratify the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States.
5. US Mediation in the War of Jenkins' Ear: On December 31, 1738, England and Spain signed the Treaty of El Pardo, which ended the War of Jenkins' Ear. The war had been sparked by an incident in which the ear of British merchant Robert Jenkins was cut off by Spanish privateers. The treaty was mediated by the United States, which was still a British colony at the time.
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