The Mystery of the Lost Colony

The Mystery of the Lost Colony

Lost Colony of Roanoke

Sometimes, mysterious disappearances have us wondering what happened even hundreds of years after they occurred. Now and then, people vanish out of the sudden and many generations afterwards try to find out what happened to them. An example would be the disappearance of the crew of the now famous ship Mary Celeste. Another example is the disappearance of the Ninth Legion, one of the best Roman legions. One disappearance that still fosters imagination nowadays is the one of the lost colony from Roanoke.

In 1587, about 115 English citizens, men, women and children were sent to establish a colony at Chesapeake Bay. They were led by John White, an artist that was later named Governor of the area. The people set up the colony at Roanoke, a place that had been previously explored by Englishmen led by Sir Walter Raleigh.

However, the settlement met  troubles from the beginning. The garrison that had been left behind by Raleigh had disappeared, only a skeleton remaining in its wake. Moreover, the expeditions had caused tensions between the English people and the local people. Soon, this tension with the local tribes started mounting more and more, making the colonists afraid for their lives. One of the colonists, George Howe, was even killed by the natives.

Soon after the birth of James White’s first grandchild – the first English child to be born in the Americas – the people of the Roanoke colony begged John White to set sail for England in order to ask for help and supplies. When he returned, three years later, he found the colony deserted. All of the inhabitants had vanished and a single name was written on the wooden post. The name was “Croatoan”, which was a local, friendly tribe. The missing people became known as the Lost Colony.

The fate of the Lost Colony remains unknown. Some believe the people were slaughtered by merciless neighboring tribes. Others think they integrated with the friendlier tribes. However, no one knows what forced them to leave their colony.

What do you think happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke?

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Katie Zahel
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