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Lost Colony of Roanoke

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 28 Davydave86

    Two decades before the establishment of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, an attempt had been made by England to establish a North American colony in what is modern day coastal North Carolina at Roanoke. The original colony had not in fact been referred to as Carolina, but rather Virginia - in honour of Queen Elizabeth I, aka. the Virgin Queen. The successful colony twenty years later would also be christened Virginia, despite King James sitting on the throne. While the early days of the colony at Jamestown proved to be difficult for the settlers and rife with hardship, disease, Indian attacks and starvation - there was nothing there to the extent of what happened at Roanoke, a colony which had all but failed since the very beginning. In an attempt to succeed a second time, Walter Raleigh granted a corporate charter for over a hundred individuals to establish a settlement there in the hope of establishing a permanent colony and granting England a foothold in the New World. From the outset though the colony ran into nothing but trouble, most notably concerning the local Indian tribes. Another constant threat was that of patrolling Spanish ships spotting the settlement. The colonial governor John White having left for England, returned to Roanoke in 1587 only to find that the entire colony and its inhabitants had vanished. Many theories have been put forth down through the years:

    ▪️The colonists simply moved inland.

    ▪️Spanish patrol ships caught and imprisoned everybody present.

    ▪️ Native Americans slaughtered every single inhabitant, for after all tensions had been high between the natives and the settlers.

    You'd have to wonder if the third potential option coloured European American's views of Native Americans for the following 300 years and thereafter. What had been the Noble Savage would become the hostile, dangerous and brutish savage lurking in the woods, waiting to strike at any moment and willing to commit unimaginable acts of cruelty against the unsuspecting. Nonetheless, for over a hundred years afterwards, people throughout the southern colonies reported coming across tribes who resembled Europeans in physical appearance. While it's possible that the settlers from England integrated with local tribes, such stories may very well simply be myths. Though who knows?

    What do you believe could have happened? It's certainly a fascinating topic and a mystery for the ages.


  • #2

    They moved back to Hatteras island. They knew Hatteras island and the local Native Americans were friendly with them. Roanoke failed for many reasons, they weren't supplied as agreed and they decided to cut their losses and leave. They may have perished enroute from Roanoke to Hatteras, but I believe they all left of their own free will, save for a couple who may have died of natural causes.

    I don't get the idea that they married into the local community as some kind of trace would have been found, be it language, looks, traditions etc.

    I also do not believe they were massacred. Some bones or similar would have been found, doubtful that their bodies would have been buried. There would also have been some sign of a struggle. They also had an agreement that they would carve a Maltese cross into a tree if they were moved under duress, none was ever found.

    The 'massacre by the savage natives' idea was good for the colonialists as it allowed them to spread fear and justify violence against the Native American tribes, not just there, but all over the colonies. Indeed it's a fairly well known method to justify murderous actions by any occupying force.

  • #2

    I was reading Bill Brysons book recently where he touched on this. A theory that they moved inland and settled with the native American community is said to be given a lot of weight. Local people called the Melungeons in the Appalacians who have European features but Native American skin colour.

  • #2

    There was a good Buzzfeed Unsolved episode on this back about 2 years ago, really interesting stuff.

    Is it possible they assimilated in with the Natives? Voyages back & from in those days ttook years.

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