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What happened to the lost colony of Roanoke?
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Settlers assimilated into Native American society

There are several other examples of Indian tribes throughout colonization choosing to dispose the men and integrate the women in history. Furthermore, archaeological evidence points to the group splitting up and joining various tribes in the North Carolina vicinity.

The Argument

Manteo, having friendly relationships with John White and the settlers, could have acted as a bridge and fostered friendly relations. John White himself decreed Manteo to be Chief of the Roanoke and Croatoan tribes, despite having no legitimacy to his claims.[1] This lack of claim resulted in Manteo returning to Croatoan Island and his people, perhaps returning to Roanoke Island for the colonists so that they did not have to live in danger from the Roanoke tribe. In 1888, 54 Croatoan Native Americans petitioned Congress asking for aid, describing themselves as the descendants of White’s lost colonists.[2] A few months later, the Ethnological Bureau directors responded saying that there were traceable amounts of white blood in the Indians who came forward, and that it was possible that the women and children of the colony had been spared for an attack and brought to Croatoan. There are several other examples of Indian tribes throughout colonization choosing to dispose the men and integrate the women. In 2015, archaeologists found a series of objects of European origin on Hatteras Island (then known as Croatoan Island) specifically dated to the 16th century and of English origin.[3] Furthermore, John White never actually visited Croatoan Island to confirm whether or not the settlers had relocated there. Two attempts were foiled by storms, so there is no confirmation that the settlers had vanished from both Roanoke and Croatoan Island.[4] Therefore, it is entirely possible that the settlers lived complete lives on this new island, hence the note “Croatoan.”

Counter arguments

If the settlers were somewhat peaceably integrated into Native American society, why not leave a better note than the word “Croatoan” if they were leaving to join the Croatoan tribe? Presumably, there would be enough time to write a more significant letter or indication.[5] Or, if part of the settlers’ population was killed and part assimilated, there should still be signs of a scuffle or battle displaying evidence of dead men. There have been no bodies or mass graves ever found.[6]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020 at 21:06 UTC