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Section 6: Myth or History?


Roanoke, better known as the “Lost Colony”, has long been regarded as a story shrouded in mystery. What happened to the colonists who completely vanished from their settlement, with the only clue being the letters “CRO” carved into a nearby tree? By starting at the beginning, with Walter Ralegh and his first attempt to establish a colony in 1585, and then following the story of Roanoke step-by-step, this paper aims to demystify the fate of the popular American legend. The real story of Roanoke provides essential context to the clues left behind by the settlers, pointing to a major theory as the most credible for what could have happened to the colonists. Additionally, this paper will address how anti-indigenous rhetoric in the 19th century has shaped the history of Roanoke from a forgotten and failed 16th century colony to the romanticized myth it is today.

About the Author

Allison Wisdom is from Berryville, AR. She is a senior Communication Disorders and Sciences major with a minor in History. After graduation, she plans to get her Master’s at the University of Arkansas and continue to work in the Northwest Arkansas region.

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