Episode 357: Lost Colony of Roanoke: Potatoes Make The World Go Round
- Publication Date |
- Jan 11, 2019
- Episode Duration |
On this episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast, we go back in time and look at one of the earliest mysteries in American history, the lost colony of Roanoke. Roanoke was supposed to be the first English colony in the new world, a base to explore and fight the dreaded Spanish Armada from. However, the place seemed to be cursed, and in spite of multiple attempts to settle it, the colony ultimately disappeared, right down to the buildings, people, bodies, and artifacts. All that remained was the mysterious word CROATOAN carved on a single remaining fence post. So what happened?
In 1584, Queen Elizabeth I gave Sir Walter Raleigh permission to found her first colony. He gathered a ship and sent some advanced scouts who landed and settled on Roanoke Island off the coast of what is now known as North Carolina. They landed on July 4, 1585 but it didn’t go well. The newbies accused natives of stealing a silver cup from them, and they got pissed and burned the Aquascogoc village to the ground. Not a great start. Even with this violence (and a lack of food brought on by losing a ship and a massive drought), they left over 100 men to build a fort and get things started.
Meanwhile, the explorers brought tobacco, maize, and potatoes to England and the queen, and the so a larger group was sent to help settle Roanoke. However, when they got there, the place had been burned to the ground by retaliatory natives, and all the colonists were slaughtered. So, this new force of 115 people decided to remake the colony. With no real supplies. In a drought. Cut off from England by the Spanish Armada. With pissed off locals. What could go wrong?
Well, that’s the question. When the mayor left for England to get more supplies and men, it took three years before he could return. This delay was based on war, weather, and greed, but he just couldn’t get back to his daughter and granddaughter. When he did get there, the colony was simply gone. No people. No buildings. Just the singular word carved on the fence post.
So, what happened? Did the colonists build a new ship and die trying to return and escape the worst drought in 800 years? Were they slaughtered by the Spanish or the natives? Did the assimilate into Croatoan culture? Was there cannibalism, space aliens, chupacabras? Listen, laugh, learn.