Roanoke Colony #MysteryMonday

Hey, everyone. This week I wrap up the “mission persons” theme of Mystery Monday. Not to say I won’t revisit similar stories in the future, but next week I’m shifting gears since it’s October and the month of Halloween.

The disappearance of English settlers on Roanoke Island in 1590 is one of the oldest mysteries in America. Who were these people and what happened to them?

The Roanoke Colony, also known as the “Lost Colony” was the second attempt by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish the first permanent English settlement in North America.

English explorer Ralph Lane attempted a settlement in 1585. Due to lack of supplies and bad relations with local Native Americans, Lane decided to abandon the colony and return to England.

John White and his group of one-hundred-fifteen people arrived on Roanoke island in August 1587. Later that same year, he returned to England for supplies. But as he arrived in England, war broke out between England and Spain. Queen Elizabeth I called for every available ship to fight the Spanish Armada.

White returned to the Roanoke Colony in 1590. He had left behind his wife, daughter, and infant granddaughter (Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America).

He found no traces of the colony or its inhabitants. There were few clues as to what may have happened—one of them was the word “Croatoan” carved into a wooden post.

Over the centuries, investigations into the fate of the “Lost Colony” have continued without a conclusive answer. “Croatoan” was the name of an island south of Roanoke as well as the name of a Native American tribe.

Some speculate the colonists were killed or abducted by the tribe. Others think they may have tried to sail back to England and became lost at sea. Still others speculate they moved further inland and died at the hands of Spaniards who had marched northward from Florida. There is some speculation they merged with a friendly tribe.

Recent archeological digs haven’t produced enough evidence for a satisfactory answer, and their fate remains a mystery.

22 thoughts on “Roanoke Colony #MysteryMonday

  1. This is one of those mysteries that has the power to entrance people to this day. I read a fictionalized account last year about what may have happened (hostiles) that was fairly well done. It’s a legend I’ve always wanted to play with, creating my own account of what may have gone down.

    It’s so strange and so sad. In some ways it reminds me of the mystery of the Mary Celeste, only on land.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t see the husband not searching far and wide. Surely, he would have gone to the village after them? I think they tried to go home (possibly with help from the natives) and capsized at sea.
    Sad though. I feel bad for John White.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder about the cannibalism. I don’t think I came across anything to indicate such. There is still research ongoing so if I find more I can post an update. With today’s technology it looks like this could be solved. Them again we can’t find a jumbo jet that disappeared five years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe there have been some efforts to do testing. Investigations are ongoing, so new evidence may turn up. Can’t imagine a husband doing that, but we live in a different day and age. Plus, he didn’t intend to be gone that long – just got caught up in a war.


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