Mystery of the lost colony.

The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in Dare County, present-day North Carolina, United States, was a late 16th-century attempt by Queen Elizabeth I to establish a permanent English settlement.

colony The interesting facts about the Roanoke Island Lost Colony.
  • The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island was a late 16th-century attempt by Queen Elizabeth I to establish a permanent English settlement. Originally, the expedition was financed and organized  by Sir Humphrey Gilbert who drowned in 1583, later this mission was continued by his half brother Sir Walter Raleigh. He led expeditions but never visited North America himself. roanoke-croatoan_lost_colony-006
  • First visit to Roanoke Island  happened on July 1584, and later 1585. Colonists established relations with the local natives. Expediters returned to England with two locals Manteo (now the name of town on Roanoke island)  and Wanchese. Scientist Thomas Harriot with the job of deciphering and learning the Carolina Algonquian language, using a phonetic alphabet of his own invention in order to effect the translation. Both natives returned to New World during next expedition with Sir Richard Grenville’s. 
  • Grenville left 107 men at the north end of Roanoke Island and promised to return in April 1586 with more people and supplies. The left people constructed a fort similar to fort in Guyanailla Bay, which was founded by expedition previously.  Fort_Elizabeth,_Guyanilla_Bay,_Puerto_Rico,_by_John_White A April 1586 passed, there was no sign of Grenville’s relief fleet and colonists left the island with Sir Francis Drake because of bad blood and attacks on the fort.
  • During one of next expeditions, the fleet members found nothing except a skeleton that may have been the remains of one of the English garrison. The last large group of people(115) arrived to the island were led by John White, an artist and friend of Raleigh who made watercolor sketches of the surrounding landscape and the native peoples and their everyday life.
  • New colonists had no enough food, arms, other supplies, were attacked by Indians. They persuaded Governor White to return to England to explain the colony’s desperate situation and ask for help. John White left colony and his new born granddaughter Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the America. roanoke-croatoan_lost_colony-005
  • White couldn’t return within three years because of every able English ship being commandeered to fight with Spain. Finally White landed at Roanoke on August 18, 1590 and but found the settlement deserted. His men could not find any trace of the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children, nor was there any sign of a struggle or battle. The only clue was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post of the fence around the village and “Cro” carved into a nearby tree. roanoke-croatoan_lost_colony
  • The end of the 1587 colony is unclear so far. But there are many hypotheses about the fate of the colonists.

– Integration with local population. There are a lot of speculations about the meetings with people among Indian tribes, who looked like Europeans, spoken English language and used Europeans skills, including a meeting allegedly survived “Virginia Dare” .

– The colony moved to the north and was later destroyed.

– One possibility is that the colonists simply gave up waiting, tried to return to England on their own, and perished in the attempt.

– Another theory is that the Spanish destroyed the colony.

– From 1937 to 1941, a series of grave stones with the colonists names were discovered. Most historians believe that they are a fraud.

The settlers of the Lost Colony landed at Roanoke Island in the summer of the worst growing-season drought in 800 years. Colonists could leave the island for searching food

  • Only several proofs of stay the colony on the island are discovered  because of  shoreline erosion. roanoke-croatoan_lost_colony-001
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green wrote The Lost Colony in 1937 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare. The theater’s performance proceeds to the present days. 

1401 National Park Drive
Manteo, NC 27954

View Larger Map

Info and images credits: