August 18 - 1590 - John White Discovers the Roanoke Colony is Abandoned
John White was the Governor of the Roanoke Colony, England's first colony in the Americas, and he had been away from it for three years when he returned to it in 1590. Delayed by the Spanish Armada and logistical problems, White's rescue and supply mission was delayed. What he found when he came back to the colony was the wooden fence around the town and the remnants of houses. Otherwise, there was nothing left. No people, no houses, no signs of people even dying at the colony. All that remained was the word "CROATOAN" carved into a fence-post. White's own daughter and granddaughter, who was the first person of English descent born in America, were among those missing. The small clue led possibly to the notion that the colony moved to the nearby Croatoan Island. Yet a storm made any search impossible, and the voyage returned to England. Although there was some indication the colonists had joined a Native American group and were subsequently slaughtered by the Powhatan, no one could ever prove anything, which made the Roanoake Colony forever lost and shrouded in mystery.