is a city in Craven County, North Carolina with a population of 23,128 as of the 2000 census. The estimated population in 2006 was 27,650. It is located at the convergence of the Trent and the Neuse rivers, 87 miles (140 km) northeast of Wilmington. New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina and served as the capital of the North Carolina colonial government and then briefly as the state capital. It is the county seat of Craven County and the principal city of the New Bern Micropolitan Statistical Area. Originally a Swiss settlement, the city is named after the capital of Switzerland, Bern and shares its flag. The Swiss connection (just as the Dutch in New Amsterdam, and German immigrants in Pennsylvania Dutch) with England was established by Marian exiles and marriages of the Royal House of Stuart, important people in the history of the Calvinism. New Bern is commonly known as the birthplace of Pepsi Cola.
New Bern was first settled in 1710 by Swiss and German immigrants under the leadership of Christoph von Graffenried, Franz Louis Michel and John Lawson. It was named after the (later) capital of Switzerland, Bern. The first permanent seat of the colonial government of North Carolina was located in New Bern. Following the American Revolutionary War, New Bern became the first state capital. Christoph von Graffenried ordered that the layout of the town was made into the shape of a cross, although the town is not in the shape today due to growth of the town and towns surrounding it.
Tryon Palace was completed in 1770 and was the former home of British governor William Tryon. It then became the original state capitol building of newly-independent North Carolina and remained so until the 1790s, when it burned down. A replica, built from the original plans and on the original foundation, is now maintained as a historic site and tourist attraction. During the 1800s Federal period, New Bern was the largest city in North Carolina. New Bern recovered after Raleigh took its place as the state capital with the help of trade routes to the Caribbean and New England. It reached a population of 3,600 in 1815.
New Bern was the site of the Battle of New Bern early in the American Civil War in which the town was captured and occupied by Union forces.