What Happened to the 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke?

I was just wondering if there is a consensus on the these board as to what happened to the lost colony of Roanoke? When John White returned there August 18, 1590, everyone was gone, with no evidence of where they went except the word “Croatoan” carved into a post of the fort and “Cro” carved into a nearby tree.

My theory is that, whatever happened, they were basically all killed somehow. If they were alive, they would probably have shown up somewhere eventually, no? Now, I have heard stories that they interbred with nearby friendly native americans. But that just sounds silly for the reason I just gave.

What do the rest of you think:)?

An incisive, indeed an utterly brilliant, treatment here.


They probably got hungry, pulled up stakes and set out for Hatteras Island, known to the colonists as Croatoan. The boat sank, and the sharks did the rest.

Here’s also Skeptoid’s take, which elaborates a bit on the possibility that the settlers have indeed, in a manner, resurfaced again:

Cracked also offers a brief treatment.

I think that they went to Croatoan. Why else would they carve that on the fort/tree? If they were suddenly attacked and killed then they would not have carved that.

I also don’t understand why the OP doesn’t think that they would not interbreed with the Indians. Here they are, 100 people all alone in a strange world, nobody coming back for them at the promised time. Looks like living with the Indians made sense from a survival standpoint.

Some new archeological evidence has emerged, discussed in this article.

The Lumbee Indians of North Carolina (recognized as an Indian nation by the state but not by the federal government) are supposedly descended from Roanoke colonists and Indians. I’ve passed through the part of NC where they live and noted that they look like Indians, but grey eyes are common among them.

Even without a definitive answer, this is more of a General Question than a Great Debate.

So moved.

Lee Miller’s book Roanoke gives an interesting take on it. He thinks that the colony was doomed from the start, sabotaged by political opponents of Raleigh. And you have to admit that either sabotage or gross incompetance was responsible for some truly awful actions, alerting other European powers to the new colony’s presence, alienating the local indians, and undersupplying the colonists.

In the end, Miller thinks that the colonists who didn’t die ended up living among the mainland tribes, possibly as slaves.

Actually, the Roanoke Colonists intermarried with the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. It’s a long story.

Perhaps they were dictating.

I had a fraternity brother who was Lumbee. This was his insistence. He also said that when Europeans first encountered the Lumbee, they were already speaking an English creole.

Does anyone know if the original tree/post with the carved words is still around? Is it on display or was it lost?

No, in that case the last thing carved on the tree would have been “AAARRGGHH…”

Funny, you say that about all the Staff Reports you link to that you wrote, but none of the ones you link to that someone else wrote. I wonder why that is? :dubious:

Considering that some of the indians nearby started to have enlglish names and blond hair i think they may have settled with them

Shoreline erosion probably put the tree underwater in the intervening years. The same thing happened to part the original Jamestown colony site and that had only river erosion to deal with.

So that’s why there are resorts in the Catskills.

The Castle Aarrgghh?