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the Lost Colony of Roanoke

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Author Topic: the Lost Colony of Roanoke  (Read 946 times)
Tiffany Rossette
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« on: August 14, 2007, 11:01:20 am »

The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in Dare County in present-day North Carolina was an enterprise financed and organized by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 16th century to establish a permanent English settlement in the Virginia Colony. Between 1585 and 1587, groups of colonists were left to make the attempt. The final group disappeared after a period of three years elapsed without supplies from England, leading to the continuing mystery known as "The Lost Colony."
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Tiffany Rossette
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2007, 11:02:01 am »



A map of the Roanoke area, by John White
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2007, 11:02:39 am »

Sir Walter Raleigh had received a charter for the colonization of the area of North America known as Virginia from Queen Elizabeth I of England. The charter specified that Raleigh had ten years in which to establish a settlement in North America or lose his colonization rights.

Raleigh and Elizabeth intended that the venture should provide riches from the New World, and a base from which to send privateers on raids against the treasure fleets of Spain.
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2007, 11:03:20 am »



Portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2007, 11:03:58 am »

In 1584, Raleigh dispatched an expedition to explore the eastern coast of North America for an appropriate location. The expedition was led by Phillip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, who chose the Outer Banks of modern North Carolina as an ideal location from which to raid the Spanish, who had settlements to the South, and proceeded to make contact with local American Indians, the Croatan tribe of the Carolina Algonquians.
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2007, 11:05:03 am »

First group of settlers

The following spring, a colonizing expedition composed solely of men, many of them veteran soldiers who had fought to establish English rule in Ireland, was sent to establish the colony. The leader of the settlement effort, Sir Richard Grenville, was assigned to further explore the area, establish the colony, and return to England with news of the venture's success. The establishment of the colony was initially postponed, perhaps because most of the colony's food stores were ruined when the lead ship struck a shoal upon arrival at the Outer Banks, or due to punitive action taken against natives. After the initial exploration of the mainland coast and the native settlements located there, the natives in the village of Aquascogoc were blamed for stealing a silver cup. In response the last village visited was sacked and burned, and its weroance (tribal chief) executed by burning.

Despite this incident and a lack of food, Grenville decided to leave Ralph Lane and approximately 75 men to establish the English colony at the north end of Roanoke Island, promising to return in April 1586 with more men and fresh supplies.

By April 1586, relations with a neighboring tribe had degraded to such a degree that they attacked an expedition led by Lane to explore the Roanoke River and the possibility of El Dorado's Fountain of Youth. In response he attacked the natives in their capital, where he killed their weroance, Wingina.

As April passed there was no sign of Grenville's relief fleet. The colony was still in existence in June when Sir Francis Drake paused on his way home from a successful raid in the Caribbean, and offered to take the colonists back to England, an offer they accepted. The relief fleet arrived shortly after the departure of Drake's fleet with the colonists. Finding the colony abandoned, Grenville decided to return to England with the bulk of his force, leaving behind a small detachment both to maintain an English presence and to protect Raleigh's claim to Virginia.
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2007, 11:05:51 am »

Second group

In 1587, Raleigh dispatched another group of colonists. These 121 colonists were led by John White, an artist and friend of Raleigh's who had accompanied the previous expeditions to Roanoke. The new colonists were tasked with picking up the fifteen men left at Roanoke and settling farther north, in the Chesapeake Bay area, however no trace of them was found, other than the bones of a single man. The one local tribe still friendly towards the English, the Croatans on present-day Hatteras Island, reported that the men had been attacked, but that nine had survived and sailed up the coast in their boat.

The settlers landed on Roanoke Island on July 22, 1587. On August 18, White's daughter delivered the first English child born in the Americas: Virginia Dare. Before her birth, White reestablished relations with the neighboring Croatans and tried to reestablish relations with the tribes that Ralph Lane had attacked a year previously. The aggrieved tribes refused to meet with the new colonists. Shortly thereafter, George Howe was killed by natives while searching for crabs alone in Albemarle Sound. Knowing what had happened during Ralph Lane's tenure in the area and fearing for their lives, the colonists convinced Governor White to return to England to explain the colony's situation and ask for help. There were approximately 116 colonists—115 men and women who made the trans-Atlantic passage and a new born baby, Virginia Dare, when White returned to England.

Crossing the Atlantic as late in the year as White did was a considerable risk, as evidenced by the claim of pilot Simon Fernandez that their vessel barely made it back to England. Plans for a relief fleet were initially delayed by the captains' refusal to sail back during the winter. Then, the coming of the Spanish Armada led to every able ship in England being commandeered to fight, which left White with no seaworthy vessels with which to return to Roanoke. He did manage, however, to hire two smaller vessels deemed unnecessary for the Armada defense and set out for Roanoke in the spring of 1588. This time, White's attempt to return to Roanoke was foiled by human nature and circumstance; the two vessels were small, and their captains greedy. They attempted to capture several vessels on the outward-bound voyage to improve the profitability of their venture, until they were captured themselves and their cargo taken. With nothing left to deliver to the colonists, the ships returned to England.

Because of the continuing war with Spain, White was not able to raise another resupply attempt for two more years. He finally gained passage on a privateering expedition that agreed to stop off at Roanoke on the way back from the Caribbean. White landed on August 18th in 1590, on his granddaughter's third birthday, but found the settlement deserted. He organized a search, but his men could not find any trace of the colonists. Some ninety men, seventeen women, and eleven children had disappeared; there was no sign of a struggle or battle of any kind. The only clue was the word "Croatoan" carved into a post of the fort and "Cro" carved into a nearby tree. In addition, there were two skeletons buried. All the houses and fortifications were dismantled. Before the colony disappeared, White established that if anything happened to them they would carve a maltese cross on a tree near their location indicating that their disappearance could have been forced. White took this to mean that they had moved to Croatoan Island, but he was unable to conduct a search; a massive storm was brewing and his men refused to go any further. The next day, White stood on the deck of his ship and watched, helplessly, as they left Roanoke Island.

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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2007, 11:06:16 am »

Theories regarding the Native Americans and the disappearance of the Roanoke

The end of the 1587 colony is unrecorded (leading to its being known as the "Lost Colony"), and there are multiple theories on the fate of the colonists. The principal theory is that they dispersed and were absorbed by either the local Croatan or Hatteras Indians, or still another Algonquian people; it has yet to be established if they did assimilate with one or other of the native populations.
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2007, 11:07:10 am »

Tuscarora

In F.Roy Johnson's, "The lost colony in fact and legend", co author Thomas C. Parramore wrote;...The evidence that some of the Lost Colonists were still living as late as about 1610 in Tuscarora country is impressive. A map of the interior region of what is now North Carolina, drawn in 1608 by the Jamestown settler Francis Nelson, is the most eloquent testimony to this effect. This document, the so-called "Zuniga Map", reports "4 men clothed that came from roonock" still alive at the town of Pakerikinick, evidently an Iroquois site on the Neuse." It also goes on to say, "...By 1609 there were reports in London of Englishmen from Roanoke living under a chief called "Gepanocan" and apparently at Pakerikinick, It was said that Gepanocan held four men, two boys, "and a young Maid" (Virginia Dare?) from Roanoke as copperworkers..."

On February 10, 1885, Hamilton McMillan helped to pass the Croatan bill which officially designated the Indian population around Robeson County as Croatan. Two days later on February 12, 1885, the Fayetteville observer published an article quoting Mr. McMillan regarding the Robeson Indians origins. This article states "...…They say that their traditions say that the people we call the Croatan Indians (though they do not recognize that name as that of a tribe, but only a village, and that they were Tuscaroras), were always friendly to the whites; and finding them destitute and despairing of ever receiving aid from England, persuaded them to leave the Island, and go to the mainland.…They gradually drifted away from their original seats, and at length settled in Robeson, about the center of the county..."

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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2007, 11:07:51 am »

Lumbee

The Lumbee, an indigenous people living 250 miles to the southwest of Roanoke Island in present-day Robeson, Scotland, Hoke, and Cumberland counties, North Carolina, were purported to be the descendants of some of the Lost Colony settlers. Members of the Lost Colony had carved a single word into a tree: "Croatoan" (also spelled Croatan). Despite John White's difficulty in locating the settlers, about fifty years later, the Croatan people were reportedly found to be practicing Christianity.

Writing in 1891, Stephen B. Weeks opined that "their language is the English of 300 years ago, and their names are in many cases the same as those borne by the original colonists." Weeks, however based his report on a theory that was then being widely disseminated by Hamilton McMillan, a conservative Democrat who represented Robeson County, in the late 19th century. McMillan wanted to split the Post-Reconstruction pro-Republican Indian/Black vote in his county. The American Indians of Robeson County had suffered egregiously at the hands of White Robesonians both before and after the American Civil War. During Reconstruction, the Indians of Robeson County were politically allied with the county's Black population. By championing Indian interests, McMillan hoped to draw them into his party's fold and establish a Democratic majority in the county. In all probability, McMillan also confused the oral traditions of some ancestral Lumbee families who spoke of migrating from the Roanoke River and Neuse River basin during the mid-18th century where groups of Saponi and Tuscarora had settlements. However, contemporary anthropologists and historians posit that these particular oral traditions belong to families whose ancestors were Yeopin, Potoskite, Nansemond, Saponi, and Tuscarora--peoples who had incurred devastating loss of life and land in the wake of the Tuscarora War in the early 18th century. Anthropologists and historians contend that they may have joined with the migrating Hatteras of Roanoke Island as well as with Cheraw families on Drowning Creek, now known as the Lumbee, or Lumber River.
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2007, 11:08:28 am »

Person County

A similar legend claims that the Native Americans of Person County, North Carolina, are descended from the English colonists of Roanoke Island. Indeed, when these Indians were first encountered by subsequent settlers, they noted that these Native Americans already spoke English and were of the Christian religion. The historical surnames of this group also correspond with those of the Roanoke Island settlers, and many exhibit European physical features along with Native American features. Others discount these coincidences and classify the Indians of Person County as an offshoot of the Saponi tribe.

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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2007, 11:09:06 am »

Chesepian

Other theorists contend that the colony moved wholesale, and was later destroyed. When Captain John Smith and the Jamestown colonists settled in Virginia in 1607, one of their assigned tasks was to locate the Roanoke colonists. Native people told Captain Smith of people within fifty miles of Jamestown who dressed and lived as the English.

Captain Smith was also told by Chief Wahunsunacock, the weroance of the Virginia Peninsula-based Powhatan Confederacy, and better-known as Chief Powhatan, that he had wiped out the Roanoke colonists just prior to the arrival of the Jamestown settlers because they were living with the Chesepian, a tribe living in the eastern portion of the present-day South Hampton Roads sub-region which had refused to join his Powhatan Confederacy. Archaeological evidence found at Great Neck Point in present-day Virginia Beach at a Chesepian village site suggests that the Chesepian tribe was related to the Carolina Algonquins, rather than the Powhatans.

Chief Powhatan reportedly produced several English-made iron implements to back his claim. No bodies were found, although there were reports of an Indian burial mound in the Pine Beach area of Sewell's Point in present day Norfolk, where the principal Chesepian village of Skioak may have been located.

This theory is somewhat contradicted because, according to William Strachey's The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britanica (1612), the Chesepians were eliminated because Powhatan's priests had warned him that from the Chesapeake Bay a nation should arise, which should dissolve and give end to his empire. Strachey, who arrived in the Virginia Colony in May 1610 with the Third Supply, was well aware of the mystery of the Roanoke colonists, but made no mention of them in conjunction with his writings about the fate of the Chesepian at the hands of the Powhatan.

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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2007, 11:09:35 am »

Lost at sea, starvation

Still others speculate that the colonists simply gave up waiting, tried to return to England on their own, and perished in the attempt. When Governor White left in 1587, he left the colonists with a pinnace and several small ships for exploration of the coast or removal of the colony to the mainland.

Another claim suggests that, with the region in drought, the colony must have suffered a massive food shortage.

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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2007, 11:10:10 am »

Spanish

There are those who theorize that the Spanish destroyed the colony. Earlier in the century, the Spanish had destroyed evidence of the French colony of Fort Charles in southern South Carolina and then massacred Fort Caroline, the French colony near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. The theory however is unlikely since the Spanish were still looking for the location of England's failed colony as late as 1600, ten years after White discovered that the colony was missing
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2007, 11:10:58 am »

Archaeological evidence

In 1998, East Carolina University organized "The Croatoan Project", an archaeological investigation into the events at Roanoke. The excavation team sent to the island uncovered a 10 carat gold 16th century English signet ring, a flintlock musket, and two 16th century copper farthings at the site of the ancient Croatoan capital, 50 miles (80 km) from the old Roanoke colony. Genealogists were able to trace the lion crest on the signet ring to the Kendall coat of arms, and concluded that the ring most likely belonged to one "Master" Kendall who is recorded as having lived in the Ralph Lane colony on Roanoke Island from 1585 to 1586. If this is the case, the ring represents the first material connection between the Roanoke colonists and the Native Americans on Hatteras Island.
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