• Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

    Fort Raleigh

    National Historic Site North Carolina

Roanoke Revisited Unit 2

Exploration of Roanoke Island, 1584

Almost bounded by Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the globe in 1580 and the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the first phase of English colonizing efforts in the New World was initiated by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and continued by his half-brother Sir Walter Ralegh. Gilbert, after an aborted voyage in 1578, took possession of Newfoundland in 1583, but was lost at sea on his return to England. Shortly thereafter, Ralegh received a patent to plant settlements in the unclaimed area south of Gilbert's territory. Exercising his grant with amazing speed, he prepared a reconnaissance voyage which departed England on 27 April 1584, and arrive at the coast of what is now North Carolina, appropriately enough, on the 4th of July.

The following links develop separate aspects of the half-brothers' reconnaissance voyages:

Ships of the Roanoke Voyages
Navigation and Related Instruments in 16th-Century England

Sir Humphrey Gilbert

Amadas and Barlowe

Atlantic Crossings

Did You Know?

Freedman Colony reenactor and descendent, John Wise

Roanoke Island became a safe haven of Freedom for escaped slaves when the Union seized the island during the Civil War. As a result, the first and largest Freedmen's Colony in North Carolina was established to prepare these African Americans for a new life after the war. More...