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History Review   

 
ROANOKE:
Solving the Lost Mystery of the Lost Colony
by Lee Miller
Penguin Books, 2002
Paper $15.00 (362pp)
ISBN: 0-14-200228-3

 

 
 

One of the great unsolved mysteries in North American history is what happened to the colony at Roanoke.

In November of 1587, a report reached London claiming Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition to and the first English settlers in America has foundered. The colonists on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, had vanished. The 115 men, women, and children, expected to settle in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Governor John White, their leader, who was with Raleigh on an earlier expedition failed to anticipate storms or lack of sufficient provisions. As a result, the colony had an especially arduous trip by sea. When they reached the Outer Banks, the travelers were greeted by the bones of an Englishman, one of fifteen soldiers stationed on the island, with whom they were to reconnoiter. Unable to go back to England, the colonists attempted to rebuild an earlier settlement while White returned to their homeland for help.

Like a fine mystery writer, Lee Miller attempts to solve the puzzle of what happened at Roanoke. An anthropologist and ethnohistorian by training, she questions the role of Native American politics, power, and the inner circle of Queen Elizabeth's government in the disappearance of the colony.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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