What happened to Roanoke?

The “Lost Colony” is something almost every American student has learned in some history class. It’s one of America’s oldest unsolved mysteries, and it dates back to August 1587.

Since this case is an old one, there is not much evidence to gather information from or draw a well thought-out conclusion, but I gathered all I could to try to understand this mystery of the “Lost Colony.”

The Roanoke colony was founded by an English explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585. Roanoke also happened to be the first English settler colony of the New World. However, the first colonists did not have the greatest time; they suffered from food shortages and constant attacks from natives. In 1586, those first colonists returned to England, no longer wanting to remain in Roanoke.

A year later, Raleigh sent another group of about 115 settlers to Roanoke, and they would be governed by a man named John White.

At some point, White had gone back to England to get more supplies for the colony. His trip took a little longer than expected because of the ongoing war with Spain. When White returned in 1590, the colony of Roanoke had vanished.

There were no traces of the colony, no signs of violence, nothing at all. The only clue, the only piece of evidence White and his men found was the word “CROATOAN” carved into a fencepost in the settlement.

Among the people missing were White’s daughter, Ellinor Dare, and his granddaughter, Virginia Dare, who also happened to be the first English-born child in the New World.

When White saw the word Croatoan, he and his men understood it to mean that the colony moved about 50 miles away to Croatoan island. However, when White made this journey, the settlers were still not found.

After 427 years, the mystery of Roanoke is still intriguing, and historians are still trying to figure out where the settlers vanished to.

Now, let me explain what I think may have happened.

Studies have shown that in 1590, one of the worst droughts in history happened in South Carolina, where the Roanoke settlement was located. According to an analyzed tree ring, it is assumed that the Roanoke colonists were heavily challenged by climate and were forced to move elsewhere.

Now this is what the studies indicate, my personal belief however, has to do with the natives.

Close to the colony, there was a native tribe, and the tribe was actually called the Croatans. It is possible that the settlers were abducted or taken into this tribe.

I believe with the terrible drought going on, being without supply, without water and without their governor, the settlers were at their weakest and most vulnerable to the Natives. It would have been easy for the Croatans to take over and leave their mark behind engraved on a fencepost.

It still baffles me that not a body was found, and that the settlement had all just vanished with no signs of struggle.

We may never know what happened to Roanoke, and I guess until we do, Roanoke will remain known as the “Lost Colony.”