A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke

A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0465024904

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In 1587, John White led 117 English men, women, and children to Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. They hoped to establish a British foothold in North America, but soon found themselves struggling to survive. White returned to England for help, but when he returned to Roanoke in 1590, the colonists were nowhere to be found: White never saw his friends or family again. But as James Horn reveals in A Kingdom Strange, some from the party survived; their descendants were discovered a century later, a living testament to America’s remarkable origins.

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to the head of Albemarle Sound had promised much, and Lane was already planning to probe farther into the interior: to the north toward the city of Skicóak and the Chesapeake Bay, and west up the Chowan and Roanoke Rivers into the mountains, following the lure of riches. “Being inhabited with English” was a phrase hardly likely to have reassured Granganimeo and Wingina had it come to their ears. But in any event, the chiefs had already begun to have doubts about English intentions by the fall of

(general descriptions of the world), including one of the most influential works of the period, Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia Universalis, a vast compendium of information about the world that had been republished many times since its appearance thirty years earlier. 1.2 Abraham Ortelius, Typus Orbis Terrarum, 1570. Walter Ralegh may have studied this map at the lodgings of Richard Hakluyt, the lawyer, of the Middle Temple, London. The map reveals a sea passage to the East along the top of

America and was the inspiration for Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s map. Yet it might have been Hakluyt’s sumptuously colored world map that depicted the Americas in detail that fired Ralegh’s imagination. Obvious to the eye above a detailed depiction of the Americas was a sea passage that ran from Greenland to the Bering Straits. Looking more closely, Ralegh may have picked out the course of the St. Lawrence River, shown as penetrating far into the heart of the continent and separated by a narrow

bearing the guilt of his failure. His only comfort (small though it was) was his belief that the settlers were still alive on Croatoan Island with his Indian friend Manteo, or possibly in the interior, where they may have found a home with other peoples. Sitting down to write a letter he had put off too long to his friend Richard Hakluyt, he reflected on his last voyage to Roanoke in 1590. He wrote about the hard-eyed mariners who cared nothing for him or the colony but only for profit, of

time to time, in 1626, in the 1640s, in the early 1650s, and in the 1670s. 31 Bemiss, Three Charters, 60. Newport reported in May-June 1607 sighting at “Port Cottage” (Poor Cottage) on the James River “a Savage Boy about the age of ten years, which had a head of hair of perfect yellow and a reasonable white skin, which is a Miracle amongst all Savages.” Barbour, Jamestown Voyages , 1: 140. Bland found “many of the people” above the falls of the Roanoke River “to have beards” (suggestive of mixed

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