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As cold cases go, the fate of the Lost Colony makes Amelia Earhart's disappearance look like an Easter-egg hunt. The hapless collection of 117 men, women and children who had sailed from England to Roanoke Island vanished after August 1587, leaving no clues of their whereabouts - or their demise. Thus began the longest missing-persons pursuit in American history.
The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in Dare County in present-day North Carolina was an enterprise financed and organized by Sir Walter Raleigh. It was carried out by Ralph Lane and Richard Grenville (Raleigh's cousin) in the late 16th century to establish a permanent English settlement in the Virginia Colony. Between 1585 and 1587, several groups attempted to establish a colony, but either abandoned the settlement or died. The final group of colonists disappeared after three years elapsed without supplies from England during the Anglo-Spanish War. They are known as "The Lost Colony" and their fate is still unknown.
White and the colonists also tried establishing a peaceful relationship with the Indians. White believed survival in the New World necessitated peaceful coexistence. And for a while after contact, whites and Indians lived peaceably. An Algonquian Indian named Manteo, for instance, was introduced to the English during the first expedition at Roanoke and was later baptized and named Lord of Roanoke on August 27, 1587.
Shortly thereafter, a colonist named George Howe was killed by natives while searching for crabs alone in Albemarle Sound. Knowing what had happened during Ralph Lane's tenure in the area and fearing for their lives, the colonists persuaded Governor White to return to England to explain the colony's situation and ask for help. There were approximately 115 colonists — the 114 remaining men and women who had made the trans-Atlantic passage and the newborn baby, Virginia Dare — when White returned to England.
White was not able to mount another resupply attempt for three more years. He finally gained passage on a privateering expedition that agreed to stop off at Roanoke on the way back from the Caribbean. White landed on August 18, 1590, on his granddaughter's third birthday, but found the settlement deserted. His men could not find any trace of the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children, nor was there any sign of a struggle or battle. The only clue was the word "Croatoan" carved into a post of the fort and "Cro" carved into a nearby tree. All the houses and fortifications had been dismantled, which meant their departure had not been hurried. Before he had left the colony, White had instructed them that if anything happened to them, they should carve a Maltese cross on a tree nearby, indicating that their disappearance had been forced.
While trying to deal with the storm, the citizens of the town are visited by Andre Linoge (Colm Feore), a menacing stranger who apparently knows all of the townsfolk's darkest secrets. After having killed one of the town's residents, Linoge is jailed. Even though he is kept in jail by the town's trusted constable, Mike Anderson (Timothy Daly), Linoge is somehow able to force people to commit suicide or kill others from within his cell. In a dream, the townspeople see themselves walking into the sea two-by-two with the word Croatan (a reference to the colony of Roanoke) carved on their heads. What Linoge desires is an heir, one of eight children that he had incapacitated early on in the miniseries — someone to "carry on his work when he can no longer do it himself", although Linoge's life spans millennia, he is not immortal. Any of the eight children, he states, will suit him. He states that he cannot simply take one of the children. They must be given. But he can punish the residents if they refuse him. He states that if the townsfolk do not give him a child he will kill them all, presumably by marching them into the sea as they had seen in their dream. Linoge implies that he had done the same before at Roanoke when those colonists had refused his demands.
Originally posted by Blackmarketeer
Not too long ago a researcher talked about the "lost colony" and the Croatoan, that the members of the colony took refuge with this friendly tribe (and left a clue as to where they had gone).
New research linking the Lost Colony and the Croatoan