The Tudor Society

The Lost Colony – the Roanoke Colony

Baptism of Virginia Dare

Baptism of Virginia Dare

On this day in history, 18th August 1587, the first European Christian was born in the New World. Virginia Dare was the daughter of Ananias Dare and his wife, Eleanor, daughter of Governor John White. She was born in the Roanoke colony, in what is now North Carolina, just days after the arrival of the colonists on Roanoke Island. Virginia was baptised the following Sunday.

It is not known what happened to Virginia or the other colonists. Her grandfather, John White, returned to England for supplies at the end of 1587, and did not return to the colony until August 1590. He found no sign of his family or the other colonists; the colony was deserted. The only clue to their fate was a word carved into a post. White had instructed the colonists to leave a message if they had to leave the colony or were attacked. If they moved to a new place, they were to carve the location on a tree or post, and if they were attacked then they were to try and leave the Maltese cross symbol. There was no cross, just the word “Croatoan”, which White took to mean that they had moved to Croatoan Island. He was unable to search for them due to bad weather and he returned to England in October 1590. The colony became known as “the lost colony”, and their fate is still a mystery.

Recently thinking is that the settlers "were assimilated by neighbouring tribes" - see
Carolina's Lost Colony: The fate of the first British settlers in America was a mystery... until now

Picture: "Baptism of Virginia Dare," lithograph, William A. Crafts (1876), from Pioneers in the settlement of America: from Florida in 1510 to California in 1849, Published by Samuel Walker and Company.

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