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Discover_our_World_Yellow / Lesson 17: The First English Colonies Part I: Roanoke

The First English Colonies Part I: Roanoke

PART ONE: The Colony of Roanoke Island

The English Colonies

  • In the 1500s Spain was the richest country in the world

  • England decided it wanted to follow in Spain's footsteps and set up some of their own colonies in the New World

  • England is an island surrounded by water and they needed more land to expand, and at that time they had one of the best navy's (armed ships) in the world


  • During the 1500s there was a Queen that ruled for several decades in England

  • The Queen's name was Elizabeth I

  • Queen Elizabeth I never got married and so she was known as the Virgin Queen

  • She decided to sponsor some colonies in the New World-and one of the first colonies was in a place we now call Virginia; which is named after this Virgin Queen

The First English Colony

  • Queen Elizabeth's friend was Sir Walter Raleigh and he told the Queen that she should be like Spain and establish a colony in the New World

  • Queen Elizabeth listened to her friend and she set up a charter, (a document allowing colonists to settle land claimed by their ruler ), to establish a colony


  • In 1585 The Queen sent the first English colonists to the New World

  • They sailed to an island on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of what is now the state of North Carolina

  • The Native Americans who lived here were called The Roanoke people, and they lived in villages by all of the surrounding streams and rivers off of this Atlantic coast


  • The English people decided to colonize this island and to name it after the Native Americans-so the first English colony was named "Roanoke"

  • They set up some basic village homes and lived here, but after one year in 1586, they decided to go back to England and they all left Roanoke


  • In 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh, The Queen's friend, wanted to replace the colonists who had left England-so he sent a new group of English colonists to Roanoke island

  • The leader of this second group of colonists was John White

  • Soon the English colonists began to run out of food and tools-so they asked White to go back to England in 1588 to get supplies and bring them back-so White left for England


  • John White got to England, but a war between Spain and England had erupted

  • John could not sail out because his ship might get sunk by the Spanish ships in the harbor of England

  • He waited until the war was over when it was safe to return to Roanoke

The Spanish Armada

  • An Armada was a large fleet of ships and the Spanish had surrounded the island of England with all of there big naval ships

  • The English fought this war against Spain and soon the English had won the war---The Spanish had went from being the most powerful Naval army in all of the world to having very few ships left--after the English destroyed all of there ships---and soon England became the most powerful country with the most powerful navy in all of the world

John White

  • After England won the war, John was now safe to return to Roanoke to help the people to get food and supplies-but two years had passed

  • He arrived at Roanoke in 1590-but everything was gone-there were no people, no houses, no stuff, no belongings, and not even any trace of bodies-Everyone & Everything had vanished from this colony (All 100 men, women & children were gone)

  • John knew he was in the right spot because he remembered the landscape

John White

  • John and the English he brought with him found the word "CROATOAN" carved on a tree trunk---this was the only trace of the colonists of Roanoke that was ever found to this day since this colony passed

  • The word "Croatoan" referred to a group of Native Americans that were living on an island 50 miles south of Roanoke

  • The colony of Roanoke became known as a Lost colony