The story of Roanoke gives us a unique glimpse into English colonization failures. Colonization wasn’t easy. Life on ships was hard. North America was little-understood. Communication was impossible, and it took a huge amount of money. The Spanish were ready to wipe out any settlement that did make it.
Everyone in colonial ventures was acting for their own self-interest in the lawlessness of the West. Ships captains were primarily interested in plunder. Colonial leaders didn’t have the money to sustain colonies for long until they became self sufficient. Of course, the politics of the time were pretty brutal, too.
Roanoke is a perfect illustration of all these forces. It failed twice, even though its story was much less brutal than the story of the first successful colonies. It’s also a fascinating glimpse into the time of the Sinking of the Spanish Armada.
Lest you think I’ve forgotten the mystery aspect of the Lost Colony, I’ve also selected what I think are the three most compelling pieces of evidence of what happened to the settlers.
My favorite book on Roanoke is:
Links to articles from the show: