Colonial Leader

Who is John White?

In 1586 John White was able to persuade 113 prospective colonists to join Sir Walter Raleigh’s expedition.

John White was also sent by Sir Walter Raleigh as Sir Richard Grenville’s artist-illustrator on his first voyage to the New World, he served as mapmaker and artist to the expedition, which encountered some difficulties and returned to England in 1586.

It was planned to sail to Chesapeake Bay but they got off course and landed on Roanoke, so that means the colony couldn’t get the supply ships because they were supposed to land on Chesapeake Bay.

During White’s time at Roanoke Island, he completed quite alot of watercolor drawings of the surrounding landscape and native peoples. These works are significant as they are the most informative illustrations of a Native American society of the Eastern seaboard, and predate the first body of “discovery voyage art”

They were running low on food and supplies so the colony  got John White to go on a boat and go get supplies from England, so John White agreed on that a message would be carved into a tree if they had moved and would include an image of a Maltese cross if the decision was made by force, then he left to England for more supplies.

The reason why the trip got delayed.. There were multiple reasons to why John White got delayed, Queen Elizabeth had issued a general “stay of shipping,” preventing any ships from leaving English shores, The reason of that was the “invincible fleetes made by the King of Spain, with the power of the Pope, for the invading of England – the Spanish Armada. White’s patron Sir Walter Raleigh attempted to provide the ships to rescue the colony but he was over-ruled by the Queen.

When he came back to Roanoke after the 3 years, all of the stuff was raided and torn up but, he found no trace of the colony or its inhabitants, and few clues to what might have happend, but he did find Croatoan carved into a wooden post, and there wasn’t a Maltese Cross so it wasn’t made by force and it didn’t looks like there was any violence on the island.


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