Thursday, October 24, 2013
October 24 - John White and Roanoke
On October 24, 1590, English explorer and artist John White returned to Plymouth, England, after failing to rescue the ill-fated “lost colony” at Roanoke Island. He had been a member of the settlement in 1585, in what is now North Carolina, sent by Sir Walter Raleigh as an artist and illustrator for the New World expedition. His watercolors of the flora, fauna and native peoples (pictured) are the earliest, most informative extant illustrations of native societies on the East coast. No Englishman had ever before painted America. White returned as governor in 1587 to reestablish Roanoke with more than 100 colonists (though his destination was actually Chesapeake Bay). In August his daughter, Elenora, gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas. When the colony clashed with natives and began to fail, White returned to England against his will to bring back supplies. He was promptly delayed by the invasion of the Spanish Armada (1588). When he finally returned in 1590, the settlement – and his family – had disappeared.