Roanoke Colony Haiku

Murder? Aliens?

Or went to bang hot neighbors?

Deathless mystery.

English colonists skedaddled from the first attempted Roanoke colony 432 years ago today,accepting Sir Francis Drake’s offer to get the hell out of there. Another, more famous attempt to found a colony in that location followed shortly thereafter. THAT one disappeared after they sent Governor White back to England to ask for assistance in 1587. Due to weather, seasons, and unpleasantness with Spain, he wasn’t able to return until 1590, on his granddaughter’s (Virginia Dare, first English child born in North America) third birthday. The colony was abandoned, with the only clue being ‘CROATOAN’ carved into a fence post. All the buildings had been dismantled (not burned down).

While a violent end for the colonists is not outside the realm of possibility (Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas’ pops, claimed that to have enacted just that, and also there were lurking Spaniards on the high seas), there’s a lot of oral history kicking about suggesting that at least some of the colonists were absorbed into neighboring tribes. And after the whole thing with the discovery of the Franklin Expedition ships, I think it’s wise to give oral histories coming from societies that relied on them their due respect.

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