Virginia Dare was born less than a week after the founding of the Roanoke settlement in what was then part of the Virginia colony. Her family left England on May 8, 1587, among about 120 settlers who set out on a voyage backed by Sir Walter Raleigh. Their goal was to set up a permanent settlement on the island of Roanoke, off the coast of modern-day North Carolina.
While Virginia’s birth was historical, the truly remarkable story came later. Soon after her birth, a party of Roanoke colonists, including Virginia’s grandfather John White, traveled back England for more supplies. The party was not able to return to the settlement’s Fort Raleigh for several years.
Upon the party’s arrival back to the island in 1590, the entire town was gone. All 116 settlers had disappeared without any trace. The settlers had agreed to leave a sign if they decided to move to a new location, but the only thing the returning party found was the word “Croatoan” carved into a tree. This suggests that the settlers may have gone to live in Croatoan, a nearby settlement of Native Americans who had been friendly to them. However, the colonists may also have fallen victim to other Algonquin tribes with whom they had previously clashed, or even to Spanish settlers in the south. Whatever happened to them, no trace of the settlers or their settlement has ever been found.
The first English-American person is born in the New World, only to disappear? Creepy cool.