Croatoan, unexplained letters found (1590) carved on a tree on Roanoke Island off North Carolina by Governor John White when he returned to the colony from England and discovered the colonists gone. White took the letters to mean that the settlers had moved to Croatoan Island some 50 mi (80 km) away, but no trace of them was ever found. The name, in the form Croatan, is popular in the region and is perhaps best known in the name of Croatan Sound, which connects Pamlico Sound with Albemarle Sound.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.