Early American History
Encounters in the Americas
Croatoan Indians
Francis Drake
John White
North Carolina
Queen Elizabeth I


Key Concepts
The Mystery of Roanoke
Roanoke Island
Sir Walter Raleigh
Virginia Colony, 1585
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Additional Information

Elizabeth I - Elizabeth became Queen of England when her sister, Bloody Mary died. England had been a Catholic country. Their father, King Henry VIII, made the Church of England the official church. Mary had remained a Catholic. When she became Queen, she began persecuting the Protestants. Hence the name Bloody Mary. When Mary died, Elizabeth became Queen. Elizabeth was a Protestant. Elizabeth was very smart. She spoke five languages. The 1500s and the reign of Elizabeth is called the Elizabethan age. William Shakespeare was writing plays in England. Good manners were developed. The horse drawn carriage was brought to England from the Netherlands. Forks began to be used by Englishmen. Queen Elizabeth had the first flush toilet installed in her palace.

Sir Walter Raleigh - Sir Walter Raleigh sent three expeditions to the New World. The first expedition scouted for a good place to begin a colony. The ship explored the coast of North Carolina. Raleigh named the area "Virginia", after Queen Elizabeth. She was unmarried, and was called the "Virgin Queen."

first attempt - The first expedition included seven ships and 100 men to begin. The settlers included John White, an artist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a navigator, and a Joachim Ganz, a Jewish mineral expert.

second group - Sir Walter Raleigh realized the Roanoke Colony would not be successful without women and children. In July, 1587, he sent families to begin the colony. The colonists landed at Roanoke in late spring. It was too late to plant crops. John White realized the colony would need more food, so he returned to England for supplies.

returned - The letters "C R O" were carved on a tree. "Croatan" was the name of a nearby island and the name of a nearby tribe. The Roanoke Island colony began to be called the "lost colony." The Roanoke colonists were never heard from again.

John White - John White brought along his married daughter, Eleanor Dare and her husband. Eleanor Dare gave birth to a baby named Virginia. Virginia Dare was the first English baby born in the new world.

gone - In 1998, climatologists studied ancient tree rings in the Roanoke Island area. They found that the Roanoke settlers had arrived during the worst drought in 800 years.

Francis Drake - Francis Drake was an English sea captain and pirate. Queen Elizabeth gave him a privateering commission. This gave him the Queen's permission to be a pirate against the Spanish Ships.

stole treasure - On the Isthmus of Panama, Francis Drake captured three mule trains loaded with 30 tons of silver. In 1577, Francis Drake sailed through the Strait of Magellan and into the Pacific Ocean. His ship was the Golden Hind. It was the first English vessel to reach the west coast of America. Drake captured a huge amount of treasure from the Spaniards off the coast of Peru. He tried to find the Northwest Passage by sailing north along the coast of California. Then he sailed west to China. Drake picked up spices in China and then sailed to England. This made Drake the first sea captain to finish his voyage of sailing around the world. Queen Elizabeth made Drake a knight and he became known as Sir Francis Drake. Ferdinand Magellan's "crew" was the first crew and ship to sail around the world for Spain.










English explorers had been sailing across the Atlantic Ocean since the
middle of the 1500s. Sometimes they explored the east coast of North
. Sometimes the English explorers also acted as royal pirates and attacked Spanish treasure ships carrying gold from Middle and South America. Francis Drake was England's most famous explorer. He also stole treasure from the Spanish ships.

The Queen of England was Elizabeth I. She encouraged English explorers to explore the New World. She gave Sir Walter Raleigh permission to begin England's first colony in North America. In July 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh sent a group of English colonists to an island off the coast of what is today North Carolina. The Indians called the island Roanoke Island. They named the colony Virginia.

Francis Drake visited the Virginia Colony in 1586. He found the colonists
starving. He rescued them and took them back to England. Raleigh's first attempt at establishing a colony on Roanoke Island had failed. The Englishmen did not know how to survive in America.

A year later, Sir Walter Raleigh sent a second group of English colonists to Roanoke Island. John White was the leader of the colony. After three months, he went back to England for more supplies. While in England, John White became stranded. England was fighting a war with Spain. After three years, John White was able to return to the colony. He discovered all the colonists were gone. The word "Croatoan" was carved on a wooden post. Many people believe that the colonists went to live with the Croatoan Indians. The mystery has never been solved.