It was established on November 14, 1993, as a split from area code 919. Its creation came with some fanfare, as it was North Carolina's first new area code in 39 years. Originally, it covered a fan-shaped region in the southeastern and east-central portions of the state. This was a somewhat unusual configuration, as the two parts were only connected by a tendril in the Sandhills. However, while southeastern North Carolina was not large enough at the time for its own area code, it was too large to stay in 919.
It was itself split on December 15, 1997, when area code 336 was created from most of the western portion (the Piedmont Triad).
Montgomery County - Population 229,363
New Hanover County - Population 202,667
Richmond County - Population 200,549
Onslow County - Population 177,772
Robeson County - Population 134,168
Harnett County - Population 114,678