The Southern Colonies

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What happened to the Lost colony of Roanoke?

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The simple answer is that no one knows for sure. The governor of the colony, John White, went back to England to pick up some much-needed provisions for the struggling settlement. But when he returned to America, he was astonished to discover that there was virtually no trace of the colony he'd left behind.

Initially, it was suspected that native tribes were somehow responsible for the mysterious disappearance of over one hundred men, women, and children, but as there were no obvious signs of a struggle or any kind of violence, there was not much evidence to support this hypothesis. The only tangible sign of anyone having lived at Roanoke was the word "CROATOAN" carved into a fence.

Historians speculate that this could be a reference to Croatoan Island, about fifty miles away from the Roanoke settlement. It's thought that perhaps the Roanoke settlers moved there in the belief that conditions on the island were more propitious for establishing a thriving settlement. In any case, a later search of Croatoan Island found no trace of any settlers, and so their true fate remains a mystery to this day.

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