Virginia Dare, First English Child in the New World

Dare Certificate

Virginia Dare’s birth certificate issued in 1937. The certificate is
now held by the State Archives

On August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare became the first child born in the Americas to English parents. She was named in honor of the Virgin Queen of England, Elizabeth I. Her parents, Eleanor and Ananias Dare, were part of the Roanoke Colony, an early attempt by the English to establish a permanent settlement in the New World.  Her birth was recorded by her grandfather John White, governor of the colony. White returned to England seeking supplies. It took three years before he could secure passage back to Roanoke Island, and upon his return he found the colonists had vanished.

A 1927 photograph of a statue of Virginia Dare in the Hall of History--predecessor to the N.C. Museum of History

A 1927 photograph of a statue of Virginia Dare in the Hall of History–predecessor to the N.C. Museum of History

Virginia Dare thus disappeared from history and entered into legend. One of the better-known legends concerning her says she was transformed into a white deer by a jealous lover, a Native American witch doctor. Two hunters, one trying to save her and one trying to kill her, shot the white deer with special arrows. The human Virginia was slain but the deer form lived. White deer are rumored to inhabit the area to this day.

On August 18, 1937, the state of North Carolina issued a delayed birth certificate to Virginia Dare, partially to promote the newly established outdoor drama The Lost Colony.

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