Roanoke: In search of the lost colony (I)

First Voyage: Sir Walter Raleigh was a friend of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and he was also very wealthy. He received permission to set up a colony in North America.In 1585, Raleigh sent 100 colonists with food and supplies to Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. The colonists thought that they would receive help and aid from the Native Americans, so they didn’t plant their own crops. The Native Americans did help the colonists for a while but that didn’t last very long. The settlers began to starve. Fortunately, Francis Drake, another explorer, stopped on one of his voyages. He brought the colonists back to England.

Second Voyage:
Raleigh set up another voyage and transported another group of people from England to Roanoke Island. This time, it was 150 people; there were men, women, and children. Their leader was John White. They arrived on July 22, 1587.

The settlers began to settle in, making improvements on the houses that were already there and building new ones and planting crobs. The Native Americans living on the island were more hostile to the new settlers than they had been to previous settlers.

Not long after, the first English settler born in the New World came into the world, as Eleanor Dare, daughter of Governor John White, gave birth to a daughter, who was called Virginia.

external image roanokesettlement.jpg

Soon the settlers were running out of food and supplies. So Governor John White and several other sailors went back to England to get some more. After this, nothing more is known for certain about the fate of the settlers who stayed behind.

White arrived home in England. He wanted to get back as quickly as possible but he couldn't leave because of the war between England and Spain.

Finally, in 1590, White and a few sailors and ships sailed back to Roanoke. But when they arrived there in August, they found nothing. Desperate for some sign from the settlers, they played familiar English songs on a trumpet but heard nothing in response.

external image roanokemap.jpg They found no signs of human settlement anywhere they looked. No signs of English people were found.

The men went to the area where the houses were. Carved on one of the still-standing trees in this area was the word CROATOAN.

Since Governor John White knew that the Croatoans lived in a nearby island and that they had been friendly to him, White decided to sail to that island and search for the settlers there.

When the ships were trying to sail in that direction, a strong storm made them sail back to England.

As exploration was expensive in those days. White didn't have the money to pay for another voyage. Neither, it turns out, did Sir Walter Raleigh.

This is one of American history's mysteries: What happened to the colonists at Roanoke?

The lost colony of Roanoke: Five popular theories

Roanoke: In search of the lost colony (II)



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