Portion of John White's depiction of Algonquian fishing with canoe.
Portion of John White's depiction of Algonquian fishing techniques.

British Museum

Quick Facts

Significance:
Croatoan member of the Carolina Algonquian

Manteo, a Croatoan member of the Carolina Algonquian, traveled to England with Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, the two leaders of England’s expeditionary mission to the Outer Banks in 1584. Manteo’s arrival in England was likely treated with great curiosity; the vast majority of Europe had never seen a Native American before.

Upon arrival in England, Manteo was taught english by Thomas Hariot; Hariot in turn learned the fundamentals of Carolina Algonquian from Manteo, enough to begin development of a rudimentary Algonquian alphabet. By the end of 1584 Manteo had learned English well enough to act as an interpreter for the English, going so far as to describe the Algonquian social structure and cultural traditions. In addition, Manteo served an important purpose for the development of an English colony; his presence attracted investors to the New World.

Manteo returned to Roanoke with the second English voyage of 1585, remaining loyal to the colonists throughout. He disappeared from the historical record in 1587, along with the Lost Colony.

Last updated: September 14, 2017