The Lost Colony of Roanoke


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The origins of one of the America’s oldest unsolved mysteries can be traced to August 1587, when a group of about 115 English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. Later that year, it was decided that John White, governor of the new colony, would sail back to England in order to gather a fresh load of supplies. But just as he arrived, a major naval war broke out between England and Spain, and Queen Elizabeth I called on every available ship to confront the mighty Spanish Armada. In August 1590, White finally returned to Roanoke, where he had left his wife and daughter, his infant granddaughter (Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas) and the other settlers three long years before. He found no trace of the colony or its inhabitants, and few clues to what might have happened, apart from a single word—“Croatoan”—carved into a wooden post.

Investigations into the fate of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke have continued over the centuries, but no one has come up with a satisfactory answer. 


Using your graphic organizer and the links provided to you, you will research The Lost Colony of Roanoke and choose a theory of what you believe happened to the colonists of Roanoke. Once your research is complete you will write a letter to The Queen of England telling her what you found when you arrived and what happened to the colonists using your theory. In your letter be sure to...

1. Discuss what you saw when you returned to the colony

2. What clues you found

3. Your theory as to what happened to the colonists

4. Evidence from the links to support your theory. *This does not have to be direct evidence, just make a reference to the details that support your answer*

5. What will be your next steps now that everyone is gone?




Step 1: Please visit the following links to begin learning about the theories as to why the colonists of Roanoke disappeared.

Step 2: Select ONLY 3 theories you have read about 

Step 3: On your graphic organizers write down the 3 theories you have selected. One in each bubble.

Step 4: As you visit the links jot down any notes and evidence you come across on your graphic organizer to support the theories you recorded 

Step 5: Once you have recorded enough evidence for the 3 theories on your graphic organizer select the one that you believe to be the most truthful theory

Step 6: On a separate sheet of paper begin drafting your letter to the Queen of England explaining what happened to colonists of Roanoke


Please visit the links below and get started:  8 theories (scroll down until you see  the theory you want