The Lost Colony (3)

                  A true story

flower basket
Manfred Heyde

 Shell money.       Photo, Manfred Heyde

The first journey to America, in 1584, by people in England was to a place called Roanoke. Roanoke means shell money. Indians [native Americans] used shells for money. The British explorers [people from England sent to America to find a place to live] met Indians who were friendly and helped them. The first meeting between the English and the Indians was so good that two young Indians, Manteo and Wanchese, went back to England with the explorers. This was the start of the Indian people teaching their language to people who spoke English.


     The next year more ships from England, with 600 men, came to Roanoke. From the 600 men, 108 of them stayed and built a village. It was the first village built in America by foreigners [people who come from one country to live in another country]. But it was a sad beginning. A silver cup disappeared [it could not be found]. The English said the Indians took it. No one could prove what happened to the cup. But the English killed several Indians because they believed the Indians took it.



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Q. Why did the British kill some of the Indians?

1.) Because they thought the Indians stole [took] a very expensive cup.

2.) Because they did not trust the Indians after the cup disappeared.

3.) Because they were afraid that if they did not punish the Indians, the Indians would steal more things.

4.) Because the British thought a silver cup was more important than the lives of the simple Indians.

Then another strange thing happened. The English came to buy corn from the Indians. The next day, many Indians became sick and died. The Indians said that the sickness came from the English, but no one could prove if that was true. From these 2 things, the “disease of distrust” began to grow between the Indians and the English. 

Q. What does the “disease of distrust” mean?

1.) It means when people do not trust each other it is like a disease that can kill your relations with other people.

2.) It means the disease the British gave to the Indians.

3.) It means a disease that killed the corn crop that year. 

Many months later, a new ship from England arrived with supplies [food, clothes and tools]. When the ship arrived, the people at Roanoke begged [asked very strongly] to go back with the ship to England. They wanted to leave this land that was strange and too hard to live in. And so all the people at Roanoke left and sailed back to England. Soon, another ship arrived at Roanoke with more supplies. But the village was empty. The ship captain left 15 soldiers at Roanoke to guard the houses when the ship returned to England.  

One year later, a third (3rd) ship sailed to America. There were 100 men, women, and children on this ship. When they arrived at Roanoke, none of the 15 soldiers were there. No one knew where they were. The families did not want to stay! They were afraid. They heard stories about the Indians. The empty village was terrifying [it made them very afraid]. They told the captain that they wanted to sail farther and find another place to live. But the captain said “No”. The families had to stay at Roanoke while the captain sailed back to England for more supplies. A few weeks later, a little girl, Virginia Dare, was born. She was the first British child born in America. 


Three years later an English ship returned to Roanoke with supplies. But nobody was there. A high wooden fence was all around the village, but the houses were gone! There were no things anywhere: no pots and pans, no tools, no animals. All that the new English arrivals found was a tree with the letters CRO written on it. It was the name of an island, Croatoan. It was where the family of the first Indian, Manteo (who went to England) lived. The ship sailed to Croatoan to look for the families but on the way there was a storm. They could not get to the island. They sailed back to England. 


English people who later came to live in America searched for the Roanoke families. But to this day, no one knows what happened to all those people and their homes. The only thing that is left from the Lost Colony is the name of the first British baby born in America. From her, America has the state called Virginia.

Q. What do you think happen to the families that lived at Roanoke?  Remember, all their houses, tools, clothes, furniture and animals were gone. All that was left of Roanoke was a fence and 3 letters, CRO, written on a tree.

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - July 2021 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us: