Every American knows the story of Jamestown. That’s where all of the John Smith, Pocahontas, and the start of continued English settlement in the New World business went down.
But did you know that before Jamestown, there was a colony named Roanoke? And did you know that it mysteriously disappeared without a trace? Historians still have very few clues as to what happened to the Roanoke Island colony.
How, in 3 short years, did around a hundred people just up and disappear?
The colony of Roanoke was Queen Elizabeth I’s first attempt at establishing a colony in the Americas. It was founded in 1585 on Roanoke Island in what is now Dare County, North Carolina.
Resources on the island were scarce and the colonists feared an attack by the natives. Their governor, John White, left the island for Britain to get supplies.
Unfortunately, this was exactly when the Spanish Armada attacked and White couldn’t return for 3 long years.
When John White returned to the shores of Roanoke Island, he found the colony destroyed.
The people, including his daughter and granddaughter, had completely disappeared. All that was left was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post where the colony used to be.
One popular theory explaining the disappearance is that the colony was attacked by native tribes.
The carving on the post would point to the Croatoan tribe, but in fact, the Croatoans were relatively peaceful with the white men, and denied involvement in their slaughter.
There’s some evidence to suggest that the colonists could have died of hunger or malnutrition in those three years.
The evidence suggests this was an odd time for the country’s climate. It experienced the worst drought in over 800 years, in fact.
Could the island colony have been wiped out by a hurricane? It’s possible, but the town’s fence perimeter remained intact, so probably not likely.
Disease was notorious for wiping out early British colonies, but that wouldn’t exactly explain why there were no bodies found and why the houses had all disappeared.
One interesting theory is that the Roanoke colony ran out of resources and agreed to live with one of the native tribes, enjoying it so much they decided to stay and be incorporated into their family.
What do you think happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? The fact that it is an island doesn’t help it look any less like the situation on the TV show Lost.