First English Colonies


Roanoke Island: The Lost Colony


by Matt Stokes

Research Branch, Office of Archives & History, 2007.
https://www.ncdcr.gov/about/history/division-historical-resources/nc-highway-historical-marker-program


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"The carte of all the coast of Virginia," by Theodor de Bry, 1590.  The map is a depiction of the North Carolina coast, then known as "Virginia",  in 1585. Call no. FVCC970.1 H28w, North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. Presented online at NCMaps.Related entry: Lost Colony play


The Roanoke colonies, the result of three attempts at colonization on the eastern shores of what would become North Carolina, laid the foundation for later English colonization initiatives. In April of 1584, explorers Phillip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe set out from England to survey the coast near Cape Hatteras. In the course of their expedition, they encountered few obstacles and their positive report prompted Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a colony in the New World. In 1585, Sir Richard Grenville, Raleigh’s cousin, sent seven ships loaded with colonists and provisions to establish a colony on Roanoke Island. Although the settlement survived, poor relations with the natives and food shortages constantly plagued the colony.


After English supply ships failed to reach Roanoke Island, the colonists returned to England, and in the process missed the arrival of a re-supply ship. The ship’s crew found the colony deserted and left fifteen men at the site to await their return. They never did, and eventually the men returned to England. Two years later, Grenville sent another colonial expedition of 150 men, led by artist John White. The third colony, choosing the same location their predecessors had abandoned, saw improved relations with natives and the 1587 birth of Virginia Dare, the first child born to English parents in the New World. Soon after Dare’s birth, White returned to London to secure more provisions for his fledgling colony, only to return three years later to find the colony abandoned, with no trace of inhabitants and most structures destroyed. The vanquished settlement is often referred to as the “Lost Colony,” a story retold each summer on Roanoke Island in Paul Green’s outdoor drama.


Although the first English colonies were unsuccessful, the attempts brought attention to the dangers inherent in creating a new society in a foreign world, and laid a course for future colonists.

Audio: 

References and additional resources:


Lost Colony & Jamestown Droughts (NOAA): https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/paleoclimatology-data


Learn NC resources about the Roanoke Colonies.


Powell, William Stevens, and Jay Mazzocchi. 2006. Encyclopedia of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p. 982-983.


Roanoke Colonies Research Newsletter. Online in the NC Department of Cultural Resources Digital Collections.


Quinn, David B. 1974. England and the discovery of America, 1481-1620, from the Bristol voyages of the fifteenth century to the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth: the exploration, exploitation, and trial-and-error colonization of North America by the English. New York: Knopf.


Quinn, David B. 1955. The Roanoke voyages, 1584-1590; documents to illustrate the English voyages to North America under the patent granted to Walter Raleigh in 1584. Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, 2d ser., no. 104. London: Hakluyt Society.


Quinn, David B. 1985. Set fair for Roanoke: voyages and colonies, 1584-1606. Chapel Hill: Published for America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee by the University of North Carolina Press.


Image Credit:


Bry, Theodor de. "The carte of all the coast of Virginia".  Frankfort: 1590. Call number FVCC970.1 H28w, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/ncmaps/id/117 (accessed May 31, 2016).


 

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Comments

Comment: 

Hi Sally,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia.  I'm going to reply to both of your posts here.

Here are some additional NCpedia articles to help you with these questions.  In addition, you may want to look at the "References" included with the entries.  You'll see those at the bottom of each article. Some are books that you may be able to find at a local public library and others are online resources.

http://ncpedia.org/biography/governors/white

http://ncpedia.org/biography/white-john

I hope this helps!  

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Hi, I am doing a research project on Walter Raleigh's expedition to Roanoke Island. One of the questions I must answer is experiences with other cultures? Another is what did they bring back?
Thank you for your time! Please answer soon!

Comment: 

How did the Roanoke island impact early colonization efforts?

Comment: 

Hi guys,
I'm doing an English assignment and im
struggling to find any information on rules.
is there anything on he Internet? And if so can you please give me a link

Comment: 

Hi Josh,

What type of rules are you researching?  If you give us a few more details, we'll see if we can help.  You may also want to talk to your school librarian for help locating good resources.

Kelly Agan, NCpedia Digital Media Librarian

Comment: 

with the technology we ave now we still havent found the colonists

Comment: 

Im doing a project in my English class, on the Lost Colony and i was wondering, what was the tribe that was there during that time period?

Comment: 

Hi,

Here are a few articles that may help you formulate a response to that question for your English class:
http://ncpedia.org/american-indians/european-contact
http://ncpedia.org/lost-colony

Good luck on your project!

Best,

Michelle Underhill, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina

Comment: 

Wow, this site was really helpful! Thanks, it helped a lot with my sister's project. Very accurate and detailed! Thank you so much!

Comment: 

Great story!!!! I have one question,what happened to the natives when White returned?

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