Roanoke Island

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See also: National Parks and Monuments (table)National Parks and Monuments

National Parks
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
acres (hectares)
Description
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
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Roanoke Island,

12 mi (19 km) long and 3 mi (4.8 km) wide, NE N.C., off the Atlantic coast between Croatan (W) and Roanoke (E) sounds in the Outer BanksOuter Banks
or the Banks,
chain of sand barrier islands and peninsulas, c.175 mi (280 km), along the Atlantic coast of SE Va. and E N.C. Separated by inlets and enclosing several saltwater lagoons, or sounds, the main islands, from north to south, are Bodie, Roanoke,
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. Manteo is the chief town, and tourism and fishing are the principal industries.

The English navigators Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, exploring for Sir Walter RaleighRaleigh or Ralegh, Sir Walter
, 1554?–1618, English soldier, explorer, courtier, and man of letters. Early Life

As a youth Raleigh served (1569) as a volunteer in the Huguenot army in France.
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 in 1584, brought back such glowing accounts that Raleigh dispatched a colonizing expedition under Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Ralph Lane. The colonists landed on Roanoke Island in Aug., 1585, and built the "Citie of Ralegh" (or New Fort), but they returned to England the next year. In 1587 Raleigh sent another group under John WhiteWhite, John,
fl. 1585–93, artist, cartographer, and Virginia pioneer, b. probably in England. In 1585 he was commissioned to go with the expedition to Roanoke Island to depict life in the New World.
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. Forced to return to England for supplies, White was unable to return until 1591, when he found the colonists gone and the letters CROATOAN carved on a tree. This gave rise to a theory that the settlers had moved to Croatoan Island or had joined the Croatoan or Hatteras Native Americans.

Another theory was later advanced with the discovery (1937–40) of some 40 stone tablets inscribed with what some believe to be the history of the "lost colony." The inscriptions tell of the death of many of the colonists (including Virginia DareDare, Virginia,
b. 1587, first white child of English parents to be born in America. She was the daughter of Ananias and Elenor Dare, members of Sir Walter Raleigh's ill-fated colony that settled Roanoke Island on the North Carolina coast.
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) from disease and Native American attacks and of the migration of others into the country's interior, as far away as Atlanta, Ga. The stones' authenticity, however, is questionable. In 1998 scientists said that a study of tree rings showed that the colonists had faced one of the worst droughts in the area's history.

Archaeologists at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (see National Parks and MonumentsNational Parks and Monuments

National Parks
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
acres (hectares)
Description
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.
, table) uncovered many artifacts of the colony during the late 1940s; Festival Park in Manteo recreates the failed first settlement. In 1937 Paul GreenGreen, Paul,
1894–1981, American dramatist, b. Lillington, N.C., grad. Univ. of North Carolina, 1921. He is known for his realistic plays depicting the lives of blacks and white tenant farmers.
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's symphonic drama The Lost Colony was presented to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the landing of White's colony; it is now staged annually.

Bibliography

See K. O. Kupperman, Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony (1984).

Roanoke Island

an island off the coast of North Carolina: site of the first attempted English settlement in America. Length: 19 km (12 miles). Average width: 5 km (3 miles)