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The First English Colony: Roanoke

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Roanoke was the very first permanent English colony in the new world and one of the oldest unsolved mysteries in American history. The very first English colonies including Roanoke were unsuccessful but paved the way for future settlements. Roanoke helped shed light on the imminent dangers of settling in a foreign land. Many expeditions to North America in the 15th century were expeditions of exploration. These expeditions were mostly to gain recognition, trade, and wealth. Unlike those expeditions before him, in 1584 Queen Elizabeth I granted Sir Walter Raleigh a royal patent to explore and establish the first English colony on her behalf in North America. Sir Walter Raleigh was unable to leave Queen Elizabeth’s side so in 1584 he invested…show more content…
As told by Barlowe, days after their arrival they were welcomed by the Indian inhabitants of the island. Others within this first expedition had conflicting stories from that which Barlowe told, one of those being that the men were attacked by the Indians and some were eaten and others, that the Englishmen were encountered by hostile natives. This first expedition would find that the inhabitants of this land consisted of several different Indian tribes in several different towns. Most of these inhabitants were Algonquian-speaking and some Iroquoian-speaking. Barlowe found that this land was rich in natural resources; rich soil for planting, large cedar trees, and plenty of wild game. The land would be a perfect place for the first English settlement in North America. A year later this reconnaissance mission would return to England accompanied by two of the Indian inhabitants. Queen Elizabeth I, happy with the results of the reconnaissance mission knighted Sir Walter Raleigh. “The new land would be named Virginia in honor of the virgin queen”. ("Roanoke Voyages - The Lost Colony,"…show more content…
In 1587 Sir Walter would finance one last mission to Virginia led by painter John White. Instead of Roanoke the plan would be to settle at Chesapeake Bay because the Indians were thought to be friendlier. More than one hundred colonists would sail with John White. This time the voyage to North America would include men, women, and children. The first stop would be that of Roanoke, to check on the welfare of the soldiers left behind. The only clue that White would find that the soldiers were even at Roanoke, were what would appear to be human remains. Raleigh’s plan for these colonists to settle at Chesapeake Bay would be changed. This new group of colonists would settle and make Roanoke their home. The colonists would fear the fate of those before them as the divide between the colonists and Indians continued. White would attempt to make peace with the Indian tribes. “White believed survival in the New World necessitated peaceful coexistence”. ("Roanoke Island - North Carolina History Project," n.d.) A token like system that would distinguish those friendly to the Indians would be suggested. However, these tokens were not seen in the dark and a town of Indians friendly to the English was attacked by mistake furthering the already strained
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