Unsolved Mysteries – The Roanoke Colony
In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh dispatched an expedition to the East Coast of North America as Queen Elizabeth I had given him permission to colonise Virginia.
He returned from the trip with two American Indians and samples of animals and plants. Between 1585 and 1587, two groups of colonists were left on Roanoke Island (part of present day North Carolina) to establish their settlement.
Following fights with the local native tribes, the first colony were low on food and men to defend the settlement, so when Sir Francis Drake visited after a raid in the Carribean and offered to take them back to England, they accepted and left. In 1857 121 new colonists arrived and found the local natives (the Croatans) to be friendly.
The first English child born in the Americas was the daughter of one of these colonists. The group tried to befriend some of the other tribes that the previous colonists had fought with which resulted in the killing of George Howe. The remaining members of the group convinced the leader to return to England to get help. The leader (John White) returned to England leaving behind ninety men, seventeen women, and eleven children.
When White returned in August 1590, the settlement was deserted. There were no signs of a struggle and no remains were found at all. The only clue was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post of the fort and “Cro” carved into a nearby tree. The settlement became known as the Lost Colony and no members of it were ever seen again. Some speculation exists today which suggests that the settlers left and merged with some of the nearby tribes. This is supported by the fact that many years later some of the tribes were practising Christianity and understood English.
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