June 3rd, 2019
Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island was the first English settlement in the United States. Colonists were initially helped by the local Algonquian Indians but quickly ran out of supplies. The colonists decided to send their governor John White back to England to request help. He was unable to return for 3 years as there were no ships available. When he did return the colonists had disappeared. It still remains a mystery as to what happened to the colonists on Roanoke Island. Fort Raleigh also played a part in the Civil War. It was the site of a freedman colony in 1865 and was pivotal in the development of radio transmitting.
The Visitors Center at Fort Raleigh National Historical Site has a great display outlining the history of Roanoke Island. There is a 17 minute video telling the story of the first colonists. The site also has a reconstructed earthen fort on the site of the original colony.
We were intrigued by the mystery of the colonists. When we returned to the car there were suggestions by the kids of aliens, mixing with the Indians and establishing a new colony elsewhere. This site is worth a quick visit. There is a play/drama that is held every night during summer. It portrays the story of the first colonists. It is called The Lost Colony. We would have liked to see it but once we’d finished our activities for the day no one had enough energy. That will be something to do next time we come to the Outer Banks.