We Finally Have Clues to How the Lost Roanoke Colony Vanished
Artifacts suggest some members of ill-fated English settlement survived and assimilated with Native Americans.
The search began when an anxious Englishman named John White waded ashore on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island 425 years ago this month. Appointed governor of the fledgling Roanoke colony by Sir Walter Raleigh, White was returning from England with desperately needed supplies.
But when he stepped ashore on August 18, 1590, he found the settlement looted and abandoned. The vanished colonists had left behind only two clues to their whereabouts: the word “Croatoan” carved on a prominent post and “Cro” etched into a tree.
Ever since, explorers, historians, archaeologists, and enthusiasts have sought to discover the fate of the 115 men, women, and children who were part of England’s first attempt to settle the New World. Efforts to solve America’s longest running