Almost four hundred years ago a group of families from England built the first permanent settlement on the shores of the New World. This town Jamestown, Virginia, named after James I, the King of England. Jamestown was not the first English colony in Virginia, but it had been the first one to be successful. Twenty years earlier, a colony had been started about one hundred miles south of Jamestown, on Roanoke Island that proved to be unsuccessful.
On March 25, 1584, Walter Raleigh obtained from Queen Elizabeth a patent to "discover, search, find out, and view" any lands "not actually possessed of any Christian prince, nor inhabited by Christian people." The patent was approved to "go or travel thither to inhabited or remained, there to build and fortified" for a period of six years.
Within a month Walter Raleigh had dispatched a fleet of two ships commanded by Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe.
They sailed from London on April 27th through the West Indies and sighted land off our coast on the 4th of July 1584. Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe entered Pamlico Sound at Ocracoke Inlet and a few days later Barlowe and eight of his men reached Roanoke Island. From early July until mid September a small band of men explored the region as best they could, traded with the Indians, and observed such things as the plants, the soil, the animals, and recorded everything that they could possibly learn about Indians and their way of life.
The following spring, on April 9, 1585, the first English colony for the New World set sail from Plymouth, in the southwest of England not far from the homes of Raleigh, Grenville, and Drake. This time a well-supplied fleet of seven ships sailed under the command of Richard Grenville. Ralph...