1584 – April through July – Walter Raleigh funds an expeditionary voyage from Plymouth, England to America to investigate whether it would be possible to set up a colony. (Raleigh’s Roanoke Island Virginia Colony) July 13 – The ships land. The officers meet the brother of the chieftain of Roanoke Island. September – The company returns to England. They take back several items, including skins and pearls. They also take back two Indians called Manteo and Wanchese. This generates interest and support for another expedition.
1585 – April 9 – Five ships and two pinnaces carrying the first settlers set sail from Plymouth. The expedition is led by Sir Richard Grenville. June 26 – The company lands in America and spends the next month searching for a suitable place to establish a settlement. End of July – A colony is established on Roanoke Island. Ralph Lane is made Governor. Summer – Relations with the Indians are good and the settlers receive a lot of help from them. Grenville leaves the settlement and returns to England for supplies. Autumn and winter – Relations with the Indians start to deteriorate. The Indians no longer help supply the colony with food and the settlement is attacked. Grenville arrives back in England but his return with supplies is delayed.
1586 – Winter and spring – Food is scarce. Lane sends parties to the coast and to the mainland to live on shellfish and to look for any ships. January – Queen Elizabeth, I agrees to the naming of the new land as Virginia. She knights Raleigh, making him “Lord and Governor of Virginia”. June – A fleet of 23 ships led by Sir Francis Drake is spotted off the coast. Drake offers to give Lane and the settlers fresh supplies and a number of ships or passage back to England. Lane initially accepts the first offer. However, a storm blows many ships out to sea. The settlers decide to return to England. August – A relief ship sent by Raleigh arrives at Roanoke. It finds the settlement deserted and returns to England. Three ships, led by Grenville, arrive in Virginia. They search for the settlers. Grenville leaves behind 15 men and enough supplies to last two years. Nobody knows what happened to these men.
1587 – Sir Walter Raleigh organizes another expedition. This time, women and children are allowed to make the voyage. May 8 – The expedition sets off from Plymouth, England. July 22-25 – The ships arrive at Roanoke. They discover that the fort has been destroyed. Relations with the Indians are not very friendly. August – A group of friendly Croatoan Indians accuse the Roanoke Indians of killing the 15 men left by Grenville. The settlers decide to get revenge by attacking the town of Dasamonquepeuc. However, the Roanoke Indians have fled and it is the Croatoans who are attacked. August 18 – The first child of English parents is born in the settlement. The baby girl is called “Virginia”. August 27 – Governor John White sets sail for England to obtain more supplies. Nobody knows what happened to the colony after this date.
1588 – In Europe, the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English results in Great Britain replacing Spain as the dominant world power and leads to a gradual decline of Spanish influence in the New World and the widening of English imperial interests
1590 – Roanoke is found abandoned. March 20 – The threat of the Spanish Armada and continuing hostilities with the Spanish means that White is not able to organize a return journey until now. August – The supply ships reach Hatoraske, a harbor near Roanoke, and start to look for the settlers. At Roanoke, the party finds the word CROATOAN carved on a tree. White decides that the settlers must have moved to Croatoan. He also decides that they must not have been in any danger as there was no cross carved near the name – the sign that White had agreed with the settlers before he left. White tries to get to Croatoan but bad weather forces him to abandon the mission.
1592 – Sir Walter Raleigh is imprisoned for marrying without the Queen’s permission.
1598 – Juan de Oñate leads Spanish into New Mexico.