Monday, November 13, 2017

The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, Outer Banks, NC - National Monument

"The Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island, North Carolina

(Click on any photo for a larger view)

First, apologies to our readers for taking so long to post this, our latest blog entry. This is one of the more enigmatic places we've visited during our travels.

A History Lesson

For those who are unfamiliar with the "Lost Colony" it was Sir Walter Raleigh who proposed that England expand its territories to Queen Elizabeth. He offered to lead the expeditions and Elizabeth forbade Raleigh from going.  Instead, Raleigh , an English soldier, explorer, poet, and courtier who funded two voyages to Roanoke Island  to establish an English settlement and fort (1584–1587).

Born a commoner in Devon, England, Raleigh nevertheless had connections to Elizabeth through his mother and exploited those relationships to win a place at court. He wrote poems to the queen and advised her on policy in Ireland, where in 1580 he had helped to slaughter papal troops and became one of Elizabeth's favorites. Raleigh used his wealth and power to pursue dreams of colonizing the Americas, first at Roanoke and then at Guiana.

Raleigh's mission, as he wrote in his long poem "The Ocean to Cynthia" was "To seek new worlds for gold, for praise, for glory." In so doing, he relied on the genius of English mathematician and astronomer Thomas Hariot, the master propagandist Richard Hakluyt, and artist John White. Raleigh also relied on the faithful protection of Elizabeth, protection that conspicuously disappeared when he secretly married one of her maids of honor. After the queen's death in 1603, Raleigh was accused of plotting against her successor and spent much of the rest of his life in the Tower of London. A second failed expedition to Guiana, during which he disobeyed the king's instructions, resulted in his beheading in 1618.

Raleigh funded two attempts to establish permanent settlements at Roanoke Island, in the region now known as the Outer Banks. The first, in 1585–1586, resulted in John White's iconic images of Virginia Indians and Hariot's A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia (1588). The second expedition, led by White in 1587, resulted only in the disappearance of the so-called Lost Colonists. Source -Encyclopedia of Virginia

Raleigh, meanwhile, continued to be enriched in both wealth and power through his standing at court. In July 1585 he was appointed Lord Warden of the Stannaries, allowing him to exercise judicial and military authority for Cornwall and Devon. Source - Encyclopedia of Virginia

The Story And Timeline Of The "The Lost Colony"

In 1584 Reconnaissance - Sir Walter Raleigh was given a charter from Queen Elizabeth and Raleigh sponsored England's first sustained exploration and settlement of the coast of North America to what is now known as the North Carolina Outer Banks. His venture was to find a suitable place for settlement and to have a position from which to counter Spanish domination of the new world.  In July 1584 Raleigh's vessels captained by Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow arrived off the North Carolina coast, where the captains of the two vessels established relations with the Algonquians on Roanoke Island.  The English were made to feel welcome with feasts, trading and relating much about the lands they occupied. After several weeks the English departed for England. Amadas and Barlow took with them two Algonquians named Wanchese and Manteo (Man E O) so as to show the discovery in the best light to Raleigh.

1585 Establishment of a Military Outpost

Raleigh dispatched seven ships and 600 people to Roanoke Island, the land he named Virginia. The company was commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, upon landing the earthen fort was erected. Grenville left Ralph Lane in command of 107 soldiers and colonists. Things did not go well for the colonists. They grew increasingly more dependent on the Algonquians for food and the indians started dying from European diseases that were introduced by the colonists. Suspecting conspiracy Lane killed Chief Wingina. When Grenville failed to return by the expected time and by the coincidence Sir Walter Drakes armada stopped near Roanoke Island. Drake offered to take the colonists back to England and they accepted. Drake left fifteen men there to guard the stake in the new world. 

1587 The Cittie of Raliegh

Led by John White the soldiers and crew of his ship a search was launched to find the 15 soldiers left behind to guard the new world foothold. They were never found. The ships pilot refused to take them any further deeming that further attempts would surely sink them in the unpredictable shifting sands of the North Carolina coastline.The only thing found that could have indicated where the colonists went were the letters "Croatan" carved into a post and the letters "CRO" carved into a tree.

When White's crew was finally convinced that the colonists may have tried to reach Croatan (modern day Cape Hatteras) but hurricane winds forced the ship and crew to abandon efforts and return to England.  White wouldn't return to England until 1590.

The Foothold

The colonists endured much to establish a foothold in the new world. They began by erecting an earthen fort which was common for the day. From the late 1800's until 1940 the only indication that the fort had been there were granite markers placed around the original earthen structure sometime in the past.  In 1947 and 1948 Archaeologists located the original fort and did an full study of the site. 

By that time it had been reduced to a gentle swale on the forest floor. In 1950 a a representation of the original was built on the same site.

 (Click on any photo for a larger view)

Work on the site continues today as there is evidence of new digs to investigate the site for new clues as to what happened to the colonists.

                                                  This is what the site looks like today  

There has been endless speculation as to what happened to the 115 colonists that stayed behind

Experts may never be able to put together a positive theory that finally located where the colonists went after leaving the original settlement. During the three years that it took White to get an expedition together to return the colonists simply vanished. 

If you enjoy doing things cheaply join our new Facebook Page here: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are encouraged. Please let us know how we are doing.

Our most recent blog

"Stick Em Up" - Old Tucson Studio and Theme Park

High Chapparral Ranch Set Admittedly I'm old. How old? Let's just say I hold the patent on dirt. I grew up in the 50's whe...