Roanoke was an American settlement of English colonists which vanished without  a trace in the 16th Century.  The colony was financed and organised by Sir Walter Raleigh but the “hands on” work was lead by one John White, who was the grandfather of Virginia Dare.

90 men, 17 women and 11 children had lived on the settlement, which is now North Carolina.  They were awaiting a delivery of supplies from England when they mysteriously vanished.

When they supplies finally arrived, the crew of the delivery ship could find no trace of a single living colonist.  No bodies, no signs of battle or struggle and no signs of hurried departure, as all of the houses and forts had been carefully dismantled before the colony was abandoned.

The only thing the crew found was a word carved into a nearby tree, which simply said “CROATOA”.  This was taken to perhaps mean that the colonists had up and left to seek shelter and protection from one of the native tribes, named the Croatoans.  This is not known for sure.  Several theories surround the word.  For example, in the comic book ‘100 Bullets’ the word is taken to mean “this belongs to us”.  Could the word have some other cryptic meaning?

There are several theories as to what happened to the ‘Lost Colony’:-

  • They were captured by native tribes and kept as slaves, forced to work copper (when questioned, a member of a different native American tribe claimed that Virginia Dare – the first child born in America to English parents – was one of the hostages);
  • They were lost at sea – tired of waiting for supplies and rescue, the colonists attempted to return to England by themselves and lost their lives in the process;
  • They were wiped out by disease – although this theory is unlikely as no bodies or skeletons were found;
  • They were subject to cannibalism from native tribes who attacked, captured and ate them;
  • They were abducted by aliens – *rolls eyes*;
  • The Spanish invaded and destroyed the colony – again, unlikely as no evidence of a battle or struggle was found.

In May this year, a map was discovered which was painted by John White.  Strangely, one area of the map was covered over, as if to correct a mistake, where the Roanoke settlement had been believed to be near.

The Lost Colony

Upon further inspection, the patch appeared to be covering a strange symbol, which historians believe to symbolise a fort.  Theories suggest that this was the fort which the Roanoke colony relocated to, but was covered up to prevent “spies” from discovering the location.

Nearby sites are currently being excavated.  Will the mystery finally be solved?