by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Read the News & Observer this morning, and you’ll find a fascinating story about new information related to the famous Lost Colony.
For more background information, check out the encyclopedia entry on “Roanoke Island” from NorthCarolinaHistory.org.
On July 22, 1587, John White landed on Roanoke Island with 120 men, women, and children. As governor, White hoped to establish the first permanent English settlement in the New World by developing a self-sufficient economy and agriculture. On August 18, 1587, the first English Christian was born: Virginia Dare. White and the colonists also tried establishing a peaceful relationship with the Indians. White believed survival in the New World necessitated peaceful coexistence. And for a while after contact, whites and Indians lived peaceably. An Algonquian Indian named Manteo, for instance, was introduced to the English during the first expedition at Roanoke and was later baptized and named Lord of Roanoke on August 27, 1587.
In November, 1587, White sailed back to England to report to the Crown on behalf of the colony. White was unable to return to Roanoke Island for over two years. When he returned the only sign of the colonists were the letters “CRO” carved on a tree and the word “CROATOAN” carved on one of the palisade’s entrance posts. White searched for the colonists, but to no avail. The fate of the Roanoke Island colonists is unknown, and the Lost Colony remains a mystery.