But I was intrigued when my research also showed relations with the natives quickly deteriorated under Lane's leadership. Months later, he left a far more hostile world than what he had found. The following year, Walter Raleigh's third and last attempt to colonize the New World arrived at the same location.
Sadly, the magazine folded before the Edenton story could go to print, but below, I posted what was intended to be a sidebar item featuring my take on the Lost Colony and what may have led to its demise.
UPDATE: I've learned much since I first published this post, and the facts are far more fascinating and complex than I had realized. Click here for a link to the updated post.
Did Sir Walter Raleigh’s Second Expedition Set the Third Up for Failure?
Sir Walter Raleigh’s second expedition to the New World was a military endeavor. With Ralph Lane serving as governor, the group settled on Roanoke Island, which Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe had explored the previous year during a scouting mission funded by Raleigh.
In the months after Lane's group settled on Roanoke, conflict arose between the settlers and the natives. To quell the threat he helped create, Lane imprisoned Menatonon, king of Chawanook--also known as Chowanoke and Chowan--despite the fact that “(Chawanook) it selfe is the greatest Province of the region." He later released Menatonon for ransom, but kept the king’s son.
Hostilities continued. Then, as Lane reports, “Ensenore…being the onely friend to our nation that we had amongst them….died the 20 of April 1586.”
Another skirmish ensured, ending in more deaths. Days later, while Lane’s group was on high alert, Sir Frances Drake arrived and offered to resupply the colony. Lane instead opted to travel back to England, leaving behind him blood and bitter memories of European settlers.
The following year, Raleigh’s third expedition (and his second attempt to colonize the New World), led by John White, settled on Roanoke Island. White eventually traveled back to England for supplies, and the remaining colonists, including the first English child born in the New World, was never seen again. Victims, perhaps, of foolish choices regarding natives already hostile after their first encounter with Englishmen.
Glimpses of the Past
If you're interested in learning more about early North Carolina, several explorers have written detailed and often engaging accounts of their journeys through the Carolinas and America's "Cradle of the Colonies." Journals include:
A New Voyage to Carolina, John Lawson, 1709
"A Discovery of New Brittaine", Edward Bland, 1650 (Available Online)
"A Relation of a Discovery", William Hilton, 1664 (Available Online)
Natural History of North Carolina, John Brickell, 1737
Cradle of the Colony by Dr. Thomas Parramore