The Puzzling Tale Of The Lost Colony Of Roanoke Is One Of America’s Oldest Mysteries

One of America’s oldest mysteries dates back to August of 1587, when a group of one hundred and seventeen English men, women, and children settlers traveled to a small land known as Roanoke Island.

Roanoke Island, which is off the coast of what is now North Carolina, had witnessed a failed settlement attempt just two years earlier.

So, in 1587, this new group of colonists hoped to establish the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

A man named John White was decided to be the governor of this new colony. And later that year, he planned to sail back to Britain to gather more supplies for his new settlement– leaving his wife, daughter, and infant granddaughter behind.

Once he arrived back in his homeland, though, John was confronted with chaos. A major war had broken out between Spain and England, so every available ship was repurposed to face the Spanish Armada.

In turn, John was not able to return to Roanoke Island until three years later, in August of 1590. Upon his return, though, John could not believe his eyes.

There was seemingly no trace of the colony or its settlers ever being there. Plus, there were few clues– aside from the word “Croatoan” carved into a wood post– as to how and where the group vanished to.

Since then, Roanoke Island has remained an enigma in American history. Researchers and mystery lovers alike have continued to research the lost colony and propose various happenings. Still, though, no one has really come up with a satisfactory explanation for the disappearance.

Design by William Ludwell Sheppard, Engraving by William James Linton, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons; pictured above is John returning to Roanoke to find a post inscribed with the word “Croatoan”

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