Ocracoke is an unincorporated town and island in Hyde County, North Carolina, United States. The area was discovered by Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524, but European settlement in the area would not occur until North Carolina became a colony of England in 1663. There was no settlement on Ocracoke itself until 1750, allowing for the island to become a pirate haven; in October 1718, the pirate Blackbeard was killed off Ocracoke Inlet by the Royal Navy after celebrating his retirement from piracy on the island. The island later became a home to the shipping business, and it was briefly home to the Confederate States Army's Fort Ocracoke, which was razed by Union forces on 17 September 1861 at the start of the American Civil War. In 2010, the town had a small population of 948 people.