In 1587, England attempted to establish a colony in the New World. Initially headed for an area on the Chesapeake Bay, the colonists — led by John White — settled on an island by present-day North Carolina. The island where these colonists settled was Roanoke Island.
Shortly after the colonists set up camp, John White’s daughter gave birth to the first child of European ancestry to be born on American soil.
As the colonists were struggling, John White decided to sail back to England to get more supplies, and to share the news of the birth of his granddaughter. Due to England’s war with Spain, however, White was unable to return to the colony for three years.
When he finally made it back to Roanoke Island in 1590, he found a deserted colony. No signs of a struggle were evident, and the only clue left behind was the word “Croatoan,” carved into a fence post, and the word “Cro,” carved into a nearby tree.
While no one knows for sure what happened to the first English colony established in America, there are some theories. The theories for the disappearance of the colonists are based on information found in the trees of the island. Researchers from the college of William and Mary studied the tree rings of cypress trees in the area and discovered that the settlement of Roanoke occurred during the worst three-year drought of the past 800 years.
The word “Croatoan,” may refer to a nearby island, Croatoan Island which is present day Hatteras Island in North Carolina. It could also refer to a local Native American tribe that was established nearby. This gives credence to the theory that the settlers assimilated with the nearby tribe, due to harsh conditions and a lack of supplies.
What do you think happened to the colonists that settled on Roanoke Island? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
SHARE this amazing video with your friends and family on Facebook. This story is just too amazing to keep to yourself. Share it!