The Lost Colony History Experience

The Lost Colony history experience, America’s longest running outdoor symphonic drama, embarks on its 78th season of production in 2015. This production, based on historical fact, tells the story about this land, this island, this very place on which you sit being the site of the first English settlement in the New World and the birthplace of the first English child-Virginia Dare.

As we continue the tradition of providing the richest historical entertainment on the Outer Banks, we acknowledge with gratitude the patronage of people who have chosen to include our show in your visit to the area. In live theatre, the audience plays a major role in bringing the story to life. The Lost Colony is housed on the grounds of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.  Since the formal establishment of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on April 5, 1941 the National Park Service (NPS) and the Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA) have been partners. Tied together by the mystery surrounding the Lost Colony, both entities have spent the last 74 years entertaining and educating locals and tourists alike.  With their continued support and encouragement, we continue to educate the public and preserve the historical significance of The Lost Colony.

Fun Facts About The Lost Colony and Outer Banks History

  • The Wright Brothers may have been the first to suggest a now-popular visitor explanation of ‘what happened to The Lost Colony’? ~ The Mosquitoes got them.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh NEVER came to Roanoke Island or any other part of North America? ~ Raleigh made 3 trips to the New World: In 1578/79 to the Cape Verde Islands; In 1595 and in 1617, to Trinidad and Guiana in South America, searching for the fabled City of Gold.
  • Virginia Dare, born on Roanoke Island on 18 August 1587, was most likely NOT the first child of Eleanor and Ananias Dare? ~ When Ananias and his pregnant wife Eleanor sailed to Roanoke Island in 1587, they left John, Ananias and Thomasine, children of Ananias and most likely of Eleanor, with relatives in the parish of St. Clement Dane.
  • Queen Elizabeth I did NOT have Sir Walter Raleigh beheaded? ~ King James I had Raleigh beheaded on 29 October 1617.
  • Infants excepted, there were NO young girls among the settlers who have catapulted to fame as the fabled lost colonists? ~ The ships’ list for the 1587 lost colony cites only 9 children: John Sampson, Robert Ellis, Ambrose Viccars, Thomas Archard, Thomas Humfrey, Tomas Smart, George Howe, John Prat, William Wythers.
  • The OBX feral horses most likely link to horses brought to the OBX by Sir Richard Grenville in 1585? ~ In 1585, Grenville anchored in the West Indies where he purchased horses & mares from the Spanish. Modern genetic research on the OBX wild horses has linked the origin of some herds to the Spanish stud horse of the Caribbean.
  • The first lost colony of the OBX area may have been composed of Africans & South American Indians left by Sir Francis Drake? ~ In 1586, Drake brought about 300 South American Indians and 100 Africans to Ralph Lane for free labor. Lane, however, decided to abandon the colony and return to England with Drake. There is no record of the captured Indians and African slaves arriving in England. Did they remain on the OBX?
  • Simon Fernando, controversial navigator and pilot of 3 of the 4 major Roanoke voyages, was NOT in the pay of Spain? ~ Simon Fernandez, a Portuguese resident of London was a Lutheran Protestant. When the first Spanish Armada attacked England, Fernandez leapt to the defense of England as pilot aboard Martin Frobisher’s ship.
  • Governor John White, who left his colony on Roanoke Island shortly after depositing them there in 1587, was, upon his arrival in England, almost immediately offered a ship furnished with supplies for his settlement, but did not set sail for Roanoke Island?~ White arrived in Southampton, England on 8 November 1587, and on the 20th met with Raleigh who forthwith appointed a pinnesse to be sent thither with all such necessaries as he understood they [the colonists on Roanoke Island] stood in need of. Inexplicably, White and the ship did not sail. 
  • The Indian Manteo, friend of the English settlers, was NOT a chief? ~ Manteo’s only referenced title in any English primary source document is the one the English gave him, Lord of Roanoke and Dasemunkepeuc.