August 18 - Virginia Dare's Birthday – and Disappearance Day!

   Posted on August 18, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on August 18, 2011:

In 1587, the first child with English parents was born in the Americas. The baby, named Virginia Dare, was born on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina.

Unfortunately, the very day that Virginia Dare would've turned three, her grandfather John White, who was the governor of the Roanoke Island colony, returned from a much-delayed supply trip to England—and found the entire colony gone. There had been 115 English colonists when he left—and now there were none.

No living people. No bodies or skeletons, either, thank goodness! The houses and fortifications had been dismantled, so it appeared that the people had taken their time about leaving. There was no sign of violence.

These colonists were tough. They were used to weather and war and disease thwarting their plans and changing their lives. Before he had left, White had told the colonists that, if they decided to move or were forced to leave, they should carve their destination on a wall, tree, or post. If they had left by force, they were to carve a cross next to the name. So White looked for a carving, and he found the word “Croatoan” carved into the post. There was no cross.

There was an island named Croatoan about 50 miles away.

Because of bad weather, and because he was on somebody else's ship, John White couldn't go to Croatoan and see if the English colonists were there. Instead he returned to England and reported to others what he had found.

It was years before English people set off to search for the Lost Colony. They never found it.

It may be that English people had died at sea, without ever reaching the island of Croatoan; it may be that they did get there, and died from disease or starvation - or that most survived by intermarrying with Native people who lived on the island. 

There are many hypotheses (guesses) but not a lot of evidence to show us what happened to Virginia Dare and the other members of the Lost Colony.

A play called The Lost Colony has been
performed in an outdoor theater on
Roanoke Island since 1937!

Also on this date:

The anniversary of the Wilkes Expedition setting sail

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