England’s First Virginia Attempt – Roanoke Island, “The Lost Colony”

I am one who believes that Virginia’s English History began in present day North Carolina at Roanoke Island, not at Jamestown further north. Borders came later. But to be fair, Jamestown was the first permanent, successful English settlement in the New World. Yet before Jamestown’s permanence, another colony was attempted – Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island. In anticipation of the History Channel’s program Roanoke: The Search for the Lost Colonywhich airs tonight, October 26,2015, I wanted to share a few pictures from a history trip I took in July, 2015.

Ceiling detail in the Tudor inspired room at Fort Raleigh.
The British, as well as other European powers, had something akin to this Sir Walter Raleigh quote as their exploring/colonizing inspiration. Raleigh, in particular, was trying to impress Queen Elizabeth I.
Sir Walter Raleigh dressed in his 16th Century finest.
The present day sight of Fort Raleigh has many walking trails, such as the one being traversed by my oldest son.
The reconstructed earthwork remains of Fort Raleigh, note the rebuilt palisade just right of center.
In 1937 Paul Green staged his play “The Lost Colony” on the shores of Manteo. It has been in production ever since, drawing such attention from viewers far and wide, even President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The stage used for “The Lost Colony” play.
Paul Green’s play even has a ship prop to mimic the English approach to Roanoke Island.
The 115 Lost Colonists would have come ashore here on July 22, 1587.
Manteo, for whom the island is named today, aided John White and the Lost Colonists.
Also of note near Fort Raleigh is the Elizabethan Gardens, who has this statue of Queen Elizabeth I.
Historians have pinpointed this area of the Elizabethan Gardens as being where they believe the Lost Colonists first came ashore in 1587. My youngest son loved it.
A Hydrangea at the Elizabethan Gardens

For those interested in learning more about the Lost Colony, or perhaps wanting to visit, please, click on the links below. Once, I have my podcasting setup in place, I will briefly discuss events surrounding the Lost Colony, as well as the predominant mystery theories and archaeology being done to answer those theories.

Fort Raleigh National Historical Site

Elizabethan Gardens

Historian James Horn’s Lecture at the Virginia Historical Society

First Colony Foundation

National Geographic concerning the most recent Lost Colony discoveries.

*All pictures are from my personal collection, and are copyrighted by Robert Van Ness, 2015.

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