In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh got a patent by Queen Elizabeth I to colonize America. The first attempt was made in 1585 and ended in 1586. The colony was organized by Ralph Lane who was followed by Sir Richard Grenville.
As the colony suffered of supplies for which Grenville returned to England. In the meantime Sir Francis Drake passed after having destryed the Spanish colony of St. Augustine and returned with the entire colony of Roanoke to England. Drake left fifeteen of his own men at Roanake.
An other attempt was made in 1587 by 17 women, 9 children and 90 men (other records says 121 persons) foundet an other Roanoke Colony (also called the lost colony). This colony was organized by John White. They should pick up the fifteen men of Drake (none was found) and settle farther north in the Chesapeake Bay. Why they did not do so but settled again at Roanoke is unknown.
White's daughter gave birth to Virginia Dare on August 18, 1587 as the first English child born in the Americas
Also this colony had no success and in the winter of 1588 the colonists persuaded White to return to England for help.
Meanwhile, England was attacked by the Spanish Armada and therefore could not sent out any ship for supporting the colonists. It was finally in 1590 that White was able to return but found only ruins and the word "CROATOAN" (name of an Indian tribe living on Hatteras Island) carved in one of the palisades. The whereabout of the colonist could never been clarified.
In 1998 archaeological investigation of the ancien Croatoan capital (50 miles from the old Roanoke colony was done by East Carolina University. They discovered a English signet ring, gun flints and 16th century copper farthins. Genealogists concludet that the ring most likely belonged to Master Kendall who is recorded having lived in the colony from 1585 to 1586. This would be the first connection between the Roanoke colony and the Indians on Hatteras Island.