The Lost Roanoke Colony

The Lost Roanoke Colony

In this article we will be taking a closer look at the lost Roanoke colony – one of the America’s oldest unsolved mysteries that is traced back to August 1587…


The Settlers

In August 1587, a group of around 115 English settlers landed on Roanoke Island (off the coast of what is now known as North Carolina) in search of new beginnings.

The group settled in really well to their new surroundings and decided to build a community on the island.

About 9 months after their landing on the island, it was decided that John White, governor of the new colony, would travel back to the UK to collect new supplies for the following year.

Picture of what the Roanoke colony looked like
The Roanoke Colony

Unfortunately this was (very) bad timing – when White arrived back in England a major naval war broke out between England and Spain. This resulted in Queen Elizabeth I calling upon the services of every British ship to take on the might of the Spanish Armada.

For the time being, White was stranded back home in England…


The Return

Desperate to see his wife and children, White finally managed to get back to Roanoke in August 1590…but there was no sign of the colony he had left three years earlier!

The only clue to what might of happened to the settlers came in the form of a single word – ‘Croatoan’ – carved into a wooden post.


The Unexplained

Many investigations into the lost Roanoke colony have taken place over the centuries, but not one of them has arrived at a satisfactory answer to the mystery.

The word ‘Croatoan’ was actually the name of one of the islands close to Roanoke AND the Native American tribe that inhabited that island (it was south of Roanoke).

One popular theory is that the Croatoan tribe either allowed the settlers to integrate with their community…or slaughtered them in cold blood.

investigations into the lost Roanoke colony

Other hypotheses hold that they tried to sail back to England on their own and got lost at sea…eventually running into the Spanish Armada and meeting a rather gruesome and bloody end.

In 2007 a project was set up to check the DNA from local families to see if they had any sort blood link to the original settlers, local Native American tribes or both.

We are still no closer to the truth about what happened to the Roanoke settlers…

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.

4 comments on “The Lost Roanoke Colony

    1. Hi Kellie,

      Unfortunately (and suspiciously) these results seem to have been kept under lock and key – we can’t find info on the findings anywhere at the moment….

  1. There have been a number of TV specials on this subject matter over the years. The most recent of which I saw on the History Channel not too long ago. The majority of the self-described experts definitely subscribe to the integration theory. I just feel like this is one of those mysteries we may never know the full truth about, especially since it occurred long before technology or reliable documentation procedures.

    1. Hmmm I’ll have to check out that History Channel documentary Nick – sounds very interesting! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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