August 18, 1590
Modern day North Carolina

The Roanoke Colony is found deserted with only a vague clue to their whereabouts, the word Croatoan, carved into a post 

The colony, the first English settlement in North America and formed 5 years before the disappearances of the colonists, seemed doomed from the start: the first group of settlers returned to England a year after establishing the colony because of a lack of supplies and constant attacks, and the second group didn’t fair much better. 

In 1587, John White was sent with 100 men back to England for additional supplies, but when he returned the colony had been abandoned. The word “CROATOAN” was carved into a post and it was assumed the settlers moved to the neighboring Croatoan Island, though a search of the area yielded no answers. White had instructed the settlers to carve a Maltese cross into a tree or post to denote they had been forced to leave, but no such symbol was left. Additionally, houses and fortifications had been dismantled so the settlers had not left with any haste. 

Further research into the island in 1998 showed the area suffered persistent drought from 1587 to 1589, and the current prevailing theory of the colony’s fate suggests the settlers were absorbed into the Croatoan tribe, and the word carved into the post was to direct White to the Croatoan tribe rather than the island of the same name.

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