The first English colony in America was abandoned without a word or a trace. When a ship arrived with supplies, they found it deserted with no signs of a struggle. Only one clue was left behind—the word “Croatoan” etched in a tree.
The story of the lost Roanoke Colony has lived on as one of the greatest American mysteries, but the disappearance is far from where the story begins. That story is full of some absolutely horrible atrocities; it’s also one that just might hold some strong clues about the colonists’ fate.
10. The Colonists Burned Down a Native Village Because Someone Stole A Cup
The Roanoke settlers weren’t good people. They viewed the natives as savages, and they treated them like savages, too.
From the moment the colony was established, they built bad blood with the people around them. Shortly before their fort was built, a colonist discovered that one of their silver cups had gone missing. They quickly became convinced that a native man had taken it—and they weren’t going to let him get away with it.
By English law, the penalty for theft was usually whipping, but English law didn’t apply for the natives. Instead, the Roanoke settlers burned every inchof the native man’s hometown to the ground, all because they’d lost a single cup.