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The Lost Roanoke Colony

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Jamestown is thought by most of our general population to be the first colony in the New World. This is only half true. Jamestown is considered our first successful colony, however it was not our first attempt at a colony. There were a few attempts to colonize the New World before Jamestown and one in particular that is found to be interesting is Roanoke also known as the Lost Colony. It received this name due to the fact that the colonists that settled this colony disappeared very mysteriously. This poses the question of What happened to the people of Roanoke? There are many different viewpoints of what occurred to the colonists and the goal here is to address each one of them. In England, a document signed on January 7, 1587, created a governing body called the Governor and Assistants of the City of Roanoke in Virginia. John White, an illustrator and map maker, was appointed governor. Then on May 5, 1587, eighty-five men, seventeen women, and eleven children boarded the ships heading for the New World. The plan was originally designed for the colony to settle at Chesapeake Bay, however on July 22, 1587, Simao Fernandes, the ship captain of the expedition decided to drop everyone off at Roanoke Island, the site of a previous expedition called Greenville, instead of pushing up the coast to the Chesapeake Bay. John White believed that they would reunite with the fifteen colonists left behind from the previous expedition. Instead he only found the bones of one of the men, obviously slain by natives the previous autumn and discovered no signs of the other fourteen men. The colonists decided to rebuild the old fortress and buildings and pursue to Chesapeake Bay the following spring. After about a month of unloading, Fernandes decided time was drawing near for his departure from the New World. With his departure imminent, the colony faced a dilemma. White and his assistants all agreed that one of them needed to go back to England to secure additional supplies for the colony. The one chosen to go was John White. On August 27, 1587, White set sail for England in the smaller of the ships with a crew of about fifteen men. His journey was a treacherous one due to an accident at sea that injured twelve of his crew of fifteen , virtually disabling the ship. However, thought to be a perilous journey, White finally arrived with news of the city of Raleigh. But there would not be a return voyage in six months as expected. Spain had put together a mighty fleet of ships called the Spanish Armada. This caused Queen Elizabeth to order all English

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