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Guardians of the Shore: The Tempestuous History of the Outer Banks

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Shaped and reshaped by the caprice of Mother Nature, the Outer Banks boast a dramatic history awash with the never-ending conflict of man battling against man and scrabbling to keep a foothold on these shifting sands. The beauty and resources of this fragile barrier island chain have proved a curse as well as a blessing, for they have kindled man's insatiable desire to exploit them.

Moving from past to present, we will learn in depth how men have protected their interests on this coast. Beginning with a field trip to the History Place Museum, we will study the Native Americans' fight for land rights during the Tuscarora War. Then, starting with an extraordinary opportunity to see artifacts just raised from the wreck of Blackbeard's Flagship Queen Anne's Revenge, sunk in nearby Beaufort Harbor, we will study the pirates who sailed these waters, and the colonists' efforts to protect their harbors. We will end the day with a living history of Blackbeard himself.

We will examine the role of the lighthouses that protected ships from the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" and the lifesaving stations that rescued the crews that weren't so lucky. Learn how the fury of severe coastal weather systems has affected people's lives and livelihoods with Jay Barnes, author or NC's Hurricane History. We will then delve into the world of the men who have struggled to pull their living from treacherous seas from whalers to watermen while we enjoy a field trip to the Maritime Museum. And we will travel to Fort Macon to study its role from the time of the Civil War until its last working days protecting the coast from German U-Boats during WWII.

We will finish our course by learning about the modern day guardians of the sea, the US Coast Guard. Discover how the smallest of America's Armed Services defends and protects our lives, shores, commerce and fragile marine ecology. Participants will tour a working Coast Guard base as well as the cutters and boats that make up the arsenal of this proud service.
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