Virginia Dare


Born: August 1587
Died: ? (fate unknown)
Birthplace: Roanoke Island, Virginia (now North Carolina)
Best known as: The first English person born in North America
Virginia Dare was the first person of English descent born in North America. It's likely she was born 18 August 1587, shortly after a settlement colony had been established on Roanoke Island. Dare was born to Ananias Dare and his wife, Elinor (Eleanor) White. Virginia's grandfather was John White, a scientific illustrator and painter who had previously been to Roanoke as part of a failed expedition in 1585. Under the authority of Walter Raleigh, the elder White acted as governor of the new colony. Nine days after his granddaughter was born, White returned to England for supplies. His return was delayed by England's war with Spain, and when he reached Roanoke again in 1590 the settlement had been abandoned and there was no trace of the colonists. Carved into a post was the word "Croatan," possibly signifying a native tribe or nearby island (Hatteras), but the colonists were never seen again. Nobody knows what happened to Virginia Dare or any of the other English settlers, and the fate of the "lost colony" has remained a popular mystery for centuries.
Extra credit: President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the issuance of a five-cent postage stamp in 1937 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Dare's birth... Dare County, North Carolina, is named for her. The county includes both Roanoke Island and Kitty Hawk, where The Wright Brothers launched their first plane in 1903... In the late 1990s a group of climate researchers concluded the Roanoke colony had been established during the worst drought in more than 300 years.

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