17 August 2016
Colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh arrive in the New World on 17 August 1585
On this day in history, 1585: The group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh arrive in the New World and establish their fateful colony on Roanoke Island.
Raleigh had received his charter to set up a colony in North America from Queen Elizabeth I in 1584 and he’d lost no time in despatching an expedition.
Although relations with native settlers were not smooth, and there was a shortage of food supplies, Raleigh’s people decided to stay in the area, and disembarked on Roanoke Island. It was here that they began to build their fort.
107 men were left with the newly-founded colony, while the remainder left for England promising to return the following spring with further men and supplies. Delays to the relief fleet and continued struggles with the native settlers meant that when Sir Francis Drake, passing by, offered the colonists passage, a number of them accepted.
No-one knows what happened to the remaining men, but by the time a group arrived in July 1587, to check on the colony, they found it completely deserted, save for a single skeleton.
Pictured: A beautiful map, made by a visitor to Roanoke Colony, shortly after it was established. Roanoke Island, on which the colony was established, is the pink oval shape central to the picture