(Go see Shadow Shot Sunday for more light and shade-filled pictures.)
Fort Raleigh is located on Roanoke Island, the third of the Outer Banks Islands that we visited. This is where the Lost Colony of Roanoke was located.
(This memorial stone was placed on the site in the 1800s.)
The Roanoke Colony was established in 1587. The leader, John White, had been appointed by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a colony in the name of the Queen at Chesapeake Bay. But the three shiploads of colonists stayed here instead because it was getting too late in the year to go further. The Colony was really doomed from the start. They were out of supplies and they had problems with the Indian tribes. (It was no wonder they had problems, since one of the first things they did was kill the Chief of the tribe.) The flag in the picture below marks the site of Fort Raleigh, which the colonists built for their protection.
Governor White's daughter and son-in-law were among the colonists on the voyage and his grand-daughter, Virginia Dare, was born a month after their arrival. She was the first English child to be born on American soil. A week after she was born, White left his family and most of the rest of the Colonists and went back to England for more supplies.
When he got back to England, he was told that his ship was needed in the country's fight against the Spanish Armada.
White finally got back to the colony in 1590. But when his party stepped ashore, there was no sign of the colonists except for the letters "CRO" carved on a tree. (Croatoan was the name of a nearby island.)
Can you imagine how he must have felt having looked forward to this reunion with his family and friends and found ....NOTHING. Even though they must have known they were taking big risks, this just breaks my heart to think about.
No trace of the colonists was ever found. Sir Walter Raleigh made several attempts to locate the colonists before finally giving up. The most probable explanation is that they were attacked by Indians and those not killed were assimilated into the local tribes.
Most of the Visitor Center here was closed for remodeling, so we just went out on our own.
There are a few walkinig paths and a large theater right on the water where the colonists would have landed -- there's a pageant on some evenings about the Colony. that is supposed to be pretty good -- a mixture of truth and fiction. We were still staying at Rodanthe, quite a ways back down the Banks, so we didn't even think of attending -- maybe some other visit.