The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island

roanokeThere has been a lot of enduring mysteries throughout history that still baffles many people. The obvious lack for reasonable answers may continue to fuel such mysteries to endure and live on in the imaginations of many. Such has been the mystery regarding the lost colony of Roanoke Island.

Roanoke Island is located in Dare County in present day North Carolina. The colony on the island was first established and financed by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 16th Century. The aim was to establish a permanent English settlement in this part of the area then known as the Virginia colony.

Between the years 1585 to 1587, groups of colonists from England were left on Roanoke Island to establish a permanent English settlement. But sadly, the settlement was abandoned or disappeared. The final group of settlers on Roanoke Island seem to have disappeared without any trace and has become a continuing mystery that has since been known as the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island.

The first colony

The first group of settlers were sent to Roanoke Island after Sir Walter Raleigh was given the rights to explore the area by Queen Elizabeth I of England. After sending a initial group of explorers to locate a suitable area for establishing a settlement, the group was sent after Roanoke Island was chosen. Due to hardships brought about by worsening relations with the local Indian tribes and lack of supplies, the proposed settlement was abandoned.

A group of 75 men led by Ralph Lane was left on the north end of Roanoke Island to establish some level of presence in the area, with the rest departing for England promising to return with additional men and supplies. After experiencing hardships on establishing the colony as well as fearing that the promise of the relief expedition ever returning, Lane and his group later on accepted the trip back to England when Sir Francis Drake paused on the island on his way back from the Caribbean.

Sometime in 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh again dispatched another group of settlers for Roanoke Island. It consisted of 121 colonists led by John White. John White started to establish relations with neighboring Indians but failed to do so due to past tensions. This led to most of the settlers to decide convincing Governor White to go back to England and explain the miserable and dangerous circumstances the settlers are in. Governor White was finally persuaded and set off for England to fetch more supplies for the colony. During his departure, White left 116 settlers on the Roanoke Island colony.

When White arrived in England, he intended to return to Roanoke Island right away. Unfortunately the war brewing between Spain and England delayed him. White was finally able to set sail and arrived in Roanoke Island in August of 1590. But he surprisingly discovered that the colony was gone. There were no signs as to where the settlers were. The only clue that was left was the word "Cro" carved on a tree and the word "Croatoan" carved into a post of the fort, after an Indian tribe that the settlers were friendly with.

There were no signs of struggle or battle of any kind when White arrived in the colony. Other than the cryptic clues carved, White wasn’t able to trace where the lost colony may be found. White then organized a search party but couldn’t find any trace of the lost colony. The disappearance of the 116 settlers at Roanoke Island remains a mystery until today.

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