Roanoke Colony

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The Roanoke Colony was England's first colony in North America, located in what is today North Carolina, USA. Established in 1585 CE, abandoned and then resettled in 1587 CE, the colonists had little regard for their new environment and were soon in conflict with the peoples who already inhabited the region. Doomed to failure, this early colonial project lacked adequate planning and logistical support. Further, an attack on a Native American village and murder of its chief would permanently sour relations for those that followed. The second group of Roanoke colonists were left to their own devices and when hopelessly delayed resupply ships did finally arrive, no trace of them could be found except one word carved on a tree trunk: 'Croatoan'. The most likely explanation for the fate of the colonists is that they were killed by the Roanoke Indians keen to free their island of this nuisance from the Old World.

More about: Roanoke Colony


  • 1584
    The Amadas-Barlowe expedition explores North America and trades with Native Americans on Roanoke Island.
  • Apr 1585 - Jul 1585
    Settlers sail to Virginia in North America to create England's first colony on Roanoke Island.
  • Jun 1586
    The settlers in England's first colony on Roanoke Island return home for lack of provisions.
  • 22 Jul 1587
    A second wave of settlers arrives to form the Roanoke Colony in Virginia, North America.
  • Aug 1590
    A relief expedition to Roanoke Colony finds no trace of the colonists.