Wanchese and Manteo Conclude Visit to London, 1585
On April 19, 1585, Algonquian Indians Wanchese and Manteo set sail aboard the English vessel The Tyger to return to the Roanoke Island region. The Indians had sailed to England in 1584 with Arthur Barlowe and Thomas Harriot. They caused a sensation when they were presented at the English Court.
While in England they were hosted by Sir Walter Raleigh at the Durham House. There they met with Thomas Harriot and, over the course of several visits, taught him the Algonquian language. Wanchese, unlike Manteo, was not curious to learn English.
Wanchese remained suspicious of English motives and the English in general and eventually thought of himself as a captive rather than a guest. These ill feelings would cause trouble for the colonists once he returned to Roanoke.
The Tyger raided Spanish shipping lines during the voyage to America and forcibly exchanged goods with Spanish traders on Puerto Rico, where the ship waited to reunite with its fleet. From there the vessel continued on to Roanoke, arriving near Ocracoke Inlet in June 1585.
Wanchese slipped away from English control in early July. He urged resistance to the settlers, setting himself at odds with the English and Manteo.
Other related resources:
- The UNC-TV documentary Birth of a Colony and its accompanying educational guide, both of which we were proud to produce
- Podcasts on North Carolina’s Exploration and Early Settlement from the N.C. Museum of History
- Roanoke Island Festival Park
- The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate from North Carolina Historical Publications
For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.