ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
August 18, 1590
John White Returns to Roanoke Colony
with Supplies and Finds it Deserted
On this day in 1590, John White, the Governor of Roanoke returned to the colony only to find it deserted. White
had left three years earlier to get fresh supplies for the 115 colonists, one being White's infant granddaughter,
Virginia Dare. The trip was not supposed to take that long but the Spanish Armada forced England to comandeer every
available ship for the fight.
To this day, no one knows exactly what happened to the settlers. Many historians have speculated that they
dispersed and that some of them assimilated into the native population. In 1709, John Lawson wrote that the
Hatteras Indians who lived in the area at the time, claimed that several of their ancestors were white people.