Lane Expedition Sails to America
On April 9, 1585, Sir Ralph Lane sailed with 107 colonists to America. A native of Devonshire, England, Lane entered into the service of Queen Elizabeth I in 1563. After serving as a courtier, soldier and sheriff, he was invited by Sir Walter Raleigh to command an expedition to America. By the end of June 1585 they had arrived at Wococon, now Plymouth Island, on the Outer Banks. A colony was established there with Lane as the governor.
The colony later moved to Roanoke Island and established Fort Raleigh. In 1586, Lane and a group of colonists explored the Choanoac Indian country and the Chowan River. Thomas Harriot, a mathematician and scientist, and John White, an artist, were members of the expedition. Raleigh had sent Harriot to study the native inhabitants and explore the region’s plants, animals and minerals. White was hired to make maps and paint watercolors. Their findings were preserved in a book, A Briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia.
By June of 1586, the colony’s supplies were running short. Sir Francis Drake arrived on June 11 and the discouraged Lane and other colonists abandoned the colony and boarded Drake’s ships to return to England.
Other related resources:
- Roanoke Island Festival Park
- Birth of a Colony, a documentary produced by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources in cooperation with WUNC-TV
- The Birth of a Colony Guide for Educators
- Sir Walter Ralegh [sic] and the New World and The First Colonists: Documents on the Planting of the First English Settlement in North America, 1584-1590 from N.C. Historical Publications
- The Roanoke Voyages from the N.C. Museum of History
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