Halifax Day is observed on April 12 each year. The day marks the first formal sanction of American independence, which was adopted in Halifax, North Carolina, in 1776. The ‘Halifax Resolves’ drafted on that day advocated for North Carolina to sever ties with the British empire and support the American independence movement. North Carolina was the first American state to put such intentions in writing. The North Carolina flag commemorates the ‘Halifax Resolves,’ bearing the date of their adoption. Today, Halifax Day honors the embracing of the ideal of American independence.
History of Halifax Day
The British first settled a colony in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia. On the other hand, British attempts to regulate trade in the American colonies began around 1651 and irked colonists in the Thirteen Colonies. This started a strong movement to separate the American colonies from British rule. The separatists who rallied for public support eventually mobilized support for a declaration of independence. Complete independence, however, required the attending delegates of the Second Continental Congress to draft a declaration of independence — something none of their home states authorized them to do.
However, on April 12, 1776, all that changed. North Carolina became the first state to pass a series of resolutions calling for complete independence from the British Crown. This decision took place in a town just off the Roanoke River called Halifax. These resolutions were thus named the ‘Halifax Resolves’ and encouraged the delegates of the Continental Congress to further push for a declaration of independence. On July 4, 1776, the American Declaration of Independence was finally passed.
Every year on April 12, Halifax Day is observed to commemorate the first time a state gave its delegates to a Continental Congress the permission to vote in favor of independence. Festivities take place in the Halifax Historic District where visitors can enjoy guided tours around the district in period costumes.
Halifax Day timeline
The first British colony is set up in Jamestown, Virginia.
American colonists protest taxation by throwing British tea shipments into the Boston River on December 16, 1773.
The ‘Halifax Resolves’ are passed in North Carolina on April 12.
The Second Continental Congress passes the American Declaration of Independence on July 4.
Halifax Day FAQs
Why are the two dates on the North Carolina flag important?
The two dates on North Carolina’s flag, April 12, 1776, and May 20, 1775, represent the signing of the ‘Halifax Resolves’ and the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
What soft drink was invented in North Carolina?
North Caroline is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.
What is North Carolina’s nickname?
North Carolina is called the ‘tar heel state.’
Halifax Day Activities
Read up on history
Halifax Day celebrates a catalytic event in the American Revolution. Spend the day reading up on American history and the heroes of our independence.
Visit the Halifax Historic District as part of the celebrations. The festivities are a treat for any history buff!
Watch movies related to the American Revolution
Watch a movie or documentary about the American Revolution. We guarantee you’ll learn something you never knew.
5 Interesting Facts About North Carolina
Krispy Kreme’s birthplace
The first-ever Krispy Kreme was located in North Carolina.
Ninth-most populous state
North Carolina ranks as the ninth-most populous state in America.
The state motto
The state’s motto is “Esse Quam Videri,” meaning “To be, rather than to seem.”
Don Clayton invented putt-putt golf in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The state flower
North Carolina’s state flower is the Flowering Dogwood.
Why We Love Halifax Day
It celebrates American independence
Halifax Day celebrates the passing of the ‘Halifax Resolves,’ something that was key to American independence. What’s not to love about a holiday that celebrates America’s freedom?
It teaches us about American history
Halifax Day gives us an excuse to brush up on our American history, especially about the American Revolution! Whether you are a history buff or not, we all stand to learn something on Halifax Day.
It embodies the spirit of freedom
Halifax Day celebrates a people’s wish to be free. As a democratic country, Americans ought to appreciate that!
Halifax Day dates