In 1585 English explorers first stepped on the shores of what was to become Hyde County. Awaiting those brave men was a land fertile with fish, game and natural resources. Originally named Whickham, the precinct was shaped and deeded in 1705 from Bath County, and become Hyde County in 1712 to honor North Carolina's first governor, Edward Hyde. The earliest inhabitants of Hyde County were Native Americans. Their influence can still be seen today in the names of our communities and landforms, such as Mattamuskeet, Pungo, Wysocking, Waupoppin, and Ocracoke.
Settlers moved to Hyde from the Albemarle region, Virginia and Maryland to farm the rich black soil of the county. Early farmers carved large plantations from the stands of pine, cypress and hardwoods. The rich soil and temperate climate led to bountiful harvests and Hyde was know as "The Breadbasket of North Carolina."
Settlers and Native Americans were not the only people to occupy Hyde County. The infamous pirate Blackbeard prowled the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound before his 1718 capture and ultimate death off Ocracoke Island.
Hyde County covers 634 square miles of unspoiled forests, farms, estuaries, beaches and waterways, but with a population of less than 6,00 visitors can always find and uncrowded , unhurried piece of coastal paradise.
Hyde County is home to four National Wildlife Refuges, four State Game Land Areas and a National Seashore. Virtually endless recreational activities abound in Hyde County, with miles of kayaking and canoeing, nature trails, bicycle and horseback riding, parasailing, surfing, diving, bird watching and sightseeing all with in a short drive.
Hunting is a major pastime in the county with abundant water fowl, deer, bear, and small game. Prior to the Canada Goose decline in the mid 70's, Hyde was known as the Canada Goose Hunting Capital of the World. Waterfowl remains the premier hunting adventure, with tundra swan, Canada and snow geese and more than 15 types of ducks. Hyde County has one of the largest populations of black bear in North Carolina, and rivals many areas of the United States and Canada as a trophy bear destination. Whitetail deerare abundant and popularly hunted in the county along with Rabbit, squirrel, and quail.
Hyde County was formed December 3,
1705, as Wickham Precinct, one of three precincts within Bath County. In 1712 it was renamed Hyde Precinct, for Edward Hyde, Governor of North Carolina from 1711 to 1712. In 1739 Bath County was abolished, and Hyde Precinct became Hyde County. Various boundary adjustments followed. In 1745 Lake Mattamuskeet and its adjoining territory were transferred from Currituck County to Hyde County.
In 1819 the part of Hyde County west of the Pungo River was annexed to Beaufort County. In 1823 the part of Currituck County south of New Inlet was annexed to Hyde County. This area included the present day Hatteras Island. In 1845 Ocracoke Island was transferred from Carteret County to Hyde County. In 1870 Hyde County was reduced to its present dimensions, when its northeastern part was combined with parts of Currituck County and Tyrrell County to form Dare County. Since its creation, the boundaries of Hyde County have changed more than those of any other county in North Carolina.