Posted: January 21, 2015

The location of North Carolina’s lost colony has remained a mystery for more than four centuries. However, as reported by Charlotte Observer, researchers may have discovered what happened; the clue was found on a map of North Carolina and Virginia, which was created by former governor John White.

In July, 1587, a group of 117 settlers established a colony on Roanoke Island. Unfortunately, they were met with resistance from local tribes, including the Croatans. Amid the unrest, John White was appointed governor of the Roanoke Colony. Although he eventually eased relations with some of the natives, the situation remained tense. In desperation, Governor White left the Roanoke Colony in August 1587. He promised to return with a solution to the ongoing unrest, and much needed supplies.

Unfortunately, White’s return to the colony was delayed by adverse weather conditions and the Anglo-Spanish War. Although he eventually made his way back to Roanoke Island, it was simply too late. As reported by the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Governor White found the entire “settlement deserted, plundered and surrounded by overgrown brush.” Even more disturbing, the settlers appeared to have vanished without a trace. The only clue to their fate was the word “Croatoan,” which was carved into a wooden plank.

White’s efforts to find the Lost Colony were thwarted by a powerful hurricane, which severely damaged his fleet. Left with few resources, he was again forced to return to England, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Researchers with the British Museum said the newly-found map was patched in two places. Although one of the patches “appeared to correct a mistake,” the other patch covered a symbol, which is likely a fort. The researchers believe “the fort symbol could indicate where the settlers went.”

Researchers were unable to locate a fort at the suspected site. However, archaeologists have uncovered artifacts that may have belonged to North Carolina’s Lost Colony.

First Colony Foundation President Phil Evans said the artifacts are an important clue.

“Domestic wares are interesting to us. It tells us people were there long enough to break stuff… We’re getting these types of wares in sufficient numbers that we think people are there and they’re doing something and they’re there for a good bit of time.”

Although the artifacts indicate a group of early settlers spent time at the site, it is unclear whether it was indeed North Carolina’s lost colony.

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