Of course you visit the Outer Banks to see where man first took flight, but you also have to check out the lost colony. So next one our itinerary was the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
The origins of one of the America’s oldest unsolved mysteries can be traced to August 1587, when a group of about 115 English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. Later that year, it was decided that John White, governor of the new colony, would sail back to England in order to gather a fresh load of supplies. But just as he arrived, a major naval war broke out between England and Spain, and Queen Elizabeth I called on every available ship to confront the mighty Spanish Armada. In August 1590, White finally returned to Roanoke, where he had left his wife and daughter, his infant granddaughter (Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas) and the other settlers three long years before. He found no trace of the colony or its inhabitants, and few clues to what might have happened, apart from a single word—“Croatoan”—carved into a wooden post.
In the visitor’s center, there’s a place where you can share your ideas of what you think happened to the lost colony. Were they hunted, slaughtered and taken away by the natives? Were they running out of foods, hopped over the the mainland and died scattered across the new world? Or maybe they hitchhiked with a passing boat and died elsewhere? Who knows. Najwa took a guess; I think she got it right.
The area was important to more than just the English, though. The islands that make up the outer banks were also safe havens for former slaves literally running for their lives.