In the late 16th century, England's Queen Elizabeth I granted the rights to Sir Walter Raleigh to send 100 plus people to establish a permanent English colony on Roanoke Island just off the coast of what is now North Carolina.
In late 1587, mayor John White sailed back to England to gather supplies and more colonists, he left behind 15 of his own men, who were never heard from again.
These colonists were ill prepared and not particularly clever, because, although they depended upon the local Indians for food, they also antagonized the Indians by such tactics as kidnapping them and holding them hostage in exchange for information. Unfortunately for the colonists, who were desperately in need of supplies, Grenville's return was delayed. because war between England and Spain broke out. The Queen conscripted all available ships to face the Spanish Armada.
After the war, John White sailed back precisely three years later to the colony to find it completely deserted, the only sign of the colonists, 90 men, 17 women and 9 children, were the letters CRO carved on a tree and the word CROATAN carved on one of the palisade’s entrance posts.
The word was the name of a local Native American tribe living close by.
There was no other hint or evidence as to what happened to the colonists. An extensive hunt for the missing colonists took place on the surrounding islands and the mainland, to no avail. There were no signs of the missing colonists.
To the current day, historians and scientists explore this mysterious incident. There are many theories as to what really happened to the colonists. This research includes standard archeological methods to DNA testing of all identifiable relatives. Still, no answers have been developed. Hypotheses include that the settlers were killed or enslaved by the Native Americans, or tried to sail back to England on their own and fell into the hands of the Spanish, only to meet a bloody end.
There are still no proven clues as to what happened to the colonists of Roanoke.
Recently however, new information has surface, It follows:
Researchers examining an old map in the British Museum think they have found a clue to the colonists’ disappearance. The so-called Virginea Pars map was made between 1585 and 1586 by John White, an artist, mapmaker, and friend of Raleigh’s. The map has a patch over a symbol that appears to be a fort visible only when the map is placed over a light. Could the colonists have headed toward this location with the intention of founding a new colony? The scholars think it is a good possibility.
Why, though, had the map been treated in this way? After all, Raleigh needed the map to show potential investors in future settlements. It would have been essential, too, for colonists who needed to maneuver their boats in the coastal waters. One possibility is that White hid the fort location to keep the information falling into the wrong hands, namely, Queen Elizabeth I’s enemies. So, perhaps historians have solved one mystery only to create a new one.
There was a 2 sided inscripted stone found:
Side 1 reads:
FATHER SOONE AFTER YOV
GOE FOR ENGLANDE WEE CAM
HITHER ONLIE MISARIE & WARRE
TOW YEERE ABOVE HALFE DEADE ERE TOW
YEERE MORE FROM SICKNES BEINE FOVRE & TWENTIE
SALVAGE WITH MESSAGE OF SHIPP VNTO US SMAL
SPACE OF TIME THEY AFFRITE OF REVENGE RANN
AL AWAYE WEE BLEEVE YT NOTT YOV SOONE AFTER
YE SALVAGES FAINE SPIRTS ANGRIE SVDDIANE
MVRTHER AL SAVE SEAVEN MINE CHILDE
ANANIAS TO SLAINE WTH MVCH MISARIE
BVRIE AL NEERE FOVRE MYLES EASTE THIS RIVER
VPPON SMAL HILL NAMES WRIT AL THER
ON ROCKE PVTT THIS THEIR ALSOE SALVAGE
SHEW THIS VNTO YOV & HITHER WEE
PROMISE YOV TO GIVE GREATE
Translated it reads:
Father, soon after you
go for England, we came
here. Only misery and war [for]
two years. Above half dead these two
years, more from sickness, being twenty-four.
A Savage with a message of a ship came to us. Within a small
space of time, they became frightened of revenge and ran
all away. We believe it was not you. Soon after,
the savages said spirits were angry. Suddenly
they murdered all save seven. My child and
Ananias, too, were slain with much misery.
Buried all near four miles east of this river,
upon a small hill. Names were written all there
on a rock. Put this there also. If a Savage
shows this to you, we
promised you would give them great
Side 2 reads:
On the first side, below a cross (the emergency symbol) the message reads:
Ananias Dare & Virginia went hence vnto heaven 1591 / Anye Englishman Shew / John White Govr Via.
Ananias Dare &
to Heaven, 1591
Any Englishman show this rock to]
John White, Governor of Virginia
The group included Governor John White's pregnant daughter Eleanor White Dare.
Several weeks after they landed in Roanoke, Eleanor gave birth to the first English baby born in the New World and named her Virginia Dare.
When he was finally able to make it back in 1590 on his granddaughter's third birthday, the colony was deserted.
However, others believe a group traveled to Hatteras Island.
Bad weather conditions prevented White and the returning explorers from going to the second island after discovering the engraved signs, and instead were forced to return to England - never to see his family or the rest of the explorers again.
The Croatoan was a small group of Native Americans that lived along the coast of what is now North Carolina.
Like many of the natives living in America when settlers arrived, they fell victim to infectious disease, such as smallpox in 1598.
And experts say they became extinct in the early 17th century.
This tribe had learned English and was also able to communicate with the Roanoke colonists, which led Dawson to search Hatteras Islands for clues.
Archaeologists from the University of Bristol began digging on the island in 2009, where they found copper rings, sword handles, earrings, a token, writing slates and glass ? leading them to believe they came from the Lost Colony.
However, it was the items that appeared to have once belong to women, as the 1587 voyage was the only one that brought them to the New World.
According to experts , the stone says more than half the settlers died and eventually there was news that a ship had arrived off the coast.
The Native Americans worried the Europeans would take revenge, so they fled. Soon after that, shamans warned of angry spirits and all but seven of the rest of the colonists were killed, including Eleanor's husband Ananias and her daughter Virginia. The stone says they were buried four miles east of This River and their names have been written on a second rock.
The stone also notes it should be taken to Governor White and the Native American to bring it to the governor will receive Plentie Presents.
It was signed 'EWD' for Eleanor White Dare.
Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of artifacts on Hatteras Island, Some belonged to the Croatoan tribe, but others were from English settlers