Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Lost Colony of Roanoke

Natives People Magazine
March/April 2007
Written by Ryan Whirty
History Department

In August 1587, a group of 112 English colonists, including two pregnant women, arrived at Roanoke Island, a spit of land located in what is now known as the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to found the second European colony on the east coast of the Americas (a previous colony in the same area failed). The new colony’s governor, John White, soon headed back to England to procure additional supplies for the settlers. He intended to return as soon as possible, but delayed in England by the country’s war with Spain, it took him three years to again land on the Carolina shores.
On Aug. 18, 1590, White finally arrived at Roanoke. What he found – or rather, what he didn’t find – has since evolved into one of the biggest mysteries in American history, a source of endless research, investigation and speculation that still flourishes today. When White got to Roanoke, all the English settlers were gone and the colony abandoned. The only clues White found were two etchings, including the now famous one on a post near the entry reading “CROATOAN.” In the ensuing decades, numerous exploration parties attempted to locate the missing settlers, but to no avail. They had vanished.

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