Due: 4 Aug 2013
The Roanoke colony dubbed the “Lost Colony” is one of North Carolina’s oldest mysteries. There are many theories that could possibly explain what happened to the settlers after they seemingly disappeared. With the discovery of the New World came English settlers looking to create permanent colony. In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh sent two explorers, Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, to the coast of the Carolinas to report back to him about the native people, the land, and the resources.1 After they came back and reported that they had found the existing Native Americans to be helpful and friendly and resources to be plentiful, Raleigh set out on an expedition to the New World to set up a permanent colony for England.
His fleet departed from Plymouth in April 1585 and sailed for the New World. This first attempt at establishing a colony failed. Ralph Lane, a military officer sent to accompany Raleigh, John White, Sir Richard Greenville and other voyagers. Lane became resentful of the power Greenville had and took over the developing colony when Greenville sailed back to England for much needed supplies. He organized the colony as a fort instead of a settlement and increased hostility between the natives and the settlers began because the natives felt that the English had a plentiful amount of trade goods in the country. The native Indians felt that the English should not be greedy with those goods.1
After Ralph Lane returned t1o England with Sir Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh sent John White to set up a second colony in Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay. On this expedition there were 110 settlers including 17 women and 9 children.1 The settlers never made it to the Chesapeake Bay and instead anchored where Ralph Lane’s men 23were last located. The blame was put on the pilot of the ship who refused to go any farther. Having no choice, the settlers began building a settlement from what was left behind from the failed colony attempt before this one.
The settlers arrived too late in the season to plant crops to sustain themselves and could only depend on the food supplies on their ships. Due to tensions from previous interactions with the natives from Lane’s expedition, few of them were willing to supply the English with food and goods in exchange for trade goods. Indians killed one of John White’s traveler companions while he was taking a walk on the beach.1 The settlers ran into a group of natives who claimed to be friendly, which was met with skepticism. The native Indians stated that there were another more hostile group of Indians that inhabited the island before and that this group had no quarrel with the English settlers.2
John White set off on a trip back to England to gather supplies and plead on the settlers’ behalf, leaving behind his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter who was the first English baby born in the New World. Before White left, he instructed his colony to carve the word “Croatoan” on a tree if by the time he returned they had moved inland with the natives. A cross was to be carved in the tree if the colonists met with any distress or were forced to leave the colony. John White’s return was delayed because England was at war with Spain, and he, Ralph Lane, and Richard Greenville were appointed to positions to help with the effort. It took them three years to return to the Roanoke colony.2
When they returned after a long and lengthy trip across the Atlantic, the day before smoke could be seen in the distance that may have been the colonists or familiar natives. However, when he and his companions reached the site where he had left his colonists and family, there was no sign of life. The houses were taken down and the place was deserted. The only clue to the colonists’ whereabouts was the word “Croatoan” carved into a tree and the letters “CRO” carved in another. There was no sign of desperation, panic, or signs of attack…