The slow growth of North Carolina was due to the lack of development in the northern part of the state, the inaccessibility of waterways into the colony, leadership struggles between the Lords Proprietors and the colonists, deteriorating relationships with the Native Americans, and the struggles between the Anglican Church and other religious groups, especially the Quakers. The northern part of the state was particularly slow to develop. It lacked a good seaport and had only one river that flowed into the Atlantic Ocean, making it difficult to establish a plantation system in the region. The Proprietors neglected the region for a long time and focused on developing the South. As attempts to develop the north became more crucial, laws were passed that opened up the waterways in the north and made the area more suitable for settlement. When colonists settled in Tuscarora territory, the Native Americans felt cheated out of their land and trading opportunities. Conflicts worsened between the Native Americans and the colonists, and the colonists took many Native Americans captive and enslaved them. Religious conflicts between Anglicans and Quakers caused leadership struggles that resulted in weak government. The Tuscarora took advantage of this weakness and attacked settlements along the Neuse and Pamlico rivers, which left much of the region destroyed.
The Assembly of 1715 passed laws to encourage business and improve travel to and from the colony. The channels into the colony were cleared and marked to make it easier for merchants to navigate into the sounds and up the rivers. This also made it easier for pirates to enter North Carolina's inlets and raid merchant ships. Because there were few merchants in North Carolina, the pirates were able to easily sell the stolen goods.