European settlement near the Pamlico River in the 1690s led to the founding of Bath, North Carolina's first town, in 1705. By 1708, Bath had 50 people and 12 houses. It soon became North Carolina's first port. Political rivalries, Indian wars, and piracy marked its early years but in 1746 Bath was considered for the colony's capital. However, when county government moved away in the late 1700s, Bath lost most of its importance and trade. Its original town limits encompass a historic district today.