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(With Croatian-American Connections)*

CROATOAN – The “Lost Colony” of Roanoke

This essay, first published in Croatian Language in “Zajednicar”, contains some modifications and additions in the last chapter, as per new information from other researchers and their publications, particularly by Dr. David S. Phelps, Professor Emeritus and retired director of the East Carolina University Archaeology Laboratory, and by Dr. Adam S. Eterovich, our foremost Croatian American researcher and publisher of findings in studies of Croat migration throughout the world.

History is unpredictable in keeping its secrets. Centuries of world migrations of peoples caused and still create “alienation” of men and women, and children from their native lands and from the roots of their people. Yet, human curiosity has no boundaries – three letters or one word leading to our compatriotism, even in an unfamiliar language, are enough to make us exclaim that someone or something in this far away world was or still is of our origin. History, in many cases, to our benefit, is true.

Various authors wrote for more than 420 years about the first English Colony Roanoke in the State of North Carolina. Essays about this “lost colony” are being written; plays and movies based on this topic are made; archeological excavations are still going on; finger pointing to conspiracies continue.

The beginnings of English colonization of America (New World) are tied up to a legendary word CROATOAN (or CROATAN), which, at the end of 16th century was carved into a trunk of a tree on Roanoke Island in Atlantic Ocean waters in Pamlico Bay in North Carolina. Many books were written about this “lost colony” in England and in the United States; doctorate papers have been defended in order to prove or disapprove the chain of events in English colonization of the New World. . Still, all information about this “lost colony” “gravitate” around the spreading of Christianity in the New World, about the first English child (a baby girl) being born in America, about Native Americans and about the cited word CROATOAN.

Historical facts about the “lost colony” are full of dramatics. It is therefore natural to present this essay in such scenario:

I - the First military expedition and the jewelry for the Queen;
II - the Second expedition and the legend of silver cup;
III - the Third expedition and John White Colony on Roanoke Island;
IV - the Return of John White to England and the Spanish-English War;
V – Return of John White to Roanoke Island and the “lost colony”.

Since numerous, both English and none English colonizers took part in colonizing of America, it is important to mention those most illustrious:

  1. English Queen Elizabeth.
  2. Sir Walter Raleigh – knight, adventurist, poet and researcher and the queen’s “favorite courtier”.
  3. Arthur Barlowe – Raleigh’s captain; lead the First expedition to Roanoke Island.
  4. Philip Amadas – Raleigh’s second captain, who lead the First expedition with Arthur Barlowe.
  5. Ralph Lane – the commander on Roanoke Island – killed the chief of Indian tribe Secotan.
  6. Simon Fernandez – Portuguese guide on ship, believed to sabotage the “lost colony”.
  7. Sir Richard Grenville – Raleigh’s cousin, who lead the Second expedition.
  8. Sir Francis Drake – famous English sea navigator, called “the sea wolf” by Spaniards.
  9. Captain Cocke – one of captains – helped in leading the Third expedition.
  10. John White – artist/painter on ships in expeditions, who became the first governor in new Virginia             colony.
  11. Eleanor Dare – John White’s daughter, who was married to Ananias Dare; mother of Virginia Dare;
  12. Ananias Dare – bricklayer, Virginia Dare’s father.
  13. Virginia Dare – the first English child born in New World on Roanoke Island, and John White’s             granddaughter.
  14. King James – the king of Scotland, who ordered Sir Walter Raleigh’s beheading.
  15. Manteo – an ambassador and translator from Secotan Indian tribe in Croatoan village on Croatoan Island; he traveled to England and was familiar with members of “lost colony”.
  16. Wingina – the king (chief) of  Secotan Indian tribe on Roanoke Island.
  17. Menatonon – the king (chief) of  Choanokes Indian tribe.

I – First Military Expedition and the Jewelry for the Queen

At the beginning of 16th century, now day America was the New World. Spain, with its experienced sea flotilla, and in search of gold, silver, black pepper and other spices, navigated the waters of New World and colonized the south and southwest parts of America. At the same time, England, with its light sail ships and for the same reasons, sailed the waters of the Atlantic shores of New World. It was a known fact at the time that the English Queen disliked the Spanish overpowering military presence on seas. Out of English Queen’s love for jewelry, a new myth evolved. Out of this love for jewelry, the need for jewelry for the queen initiated expeditions to the New World and into search for new jewelry for the queen.

English Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh

Initiated by Walter Raleigh, an adventurist, poet and discoverer, and English Queen’s most favored man, and under the leadership of Raleigh’s captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, the First expedition on a ship with 32 crew members sailed off to the New World on April 27, 1584. The experienced Portuguese guide, Simon Fernandez, lead the expedition. On July 4, 1584, they landed on eastern shores of New World’s sandy islands with giant cedar forests and patched up vineyards, rich in fine and “tasty” grapes.

For practical historical reasons, the military and official members of this expedition will be regarded hereby as colonizers, while the civilians that followed up in expeditions will be regarded as first pioneers and/or missionaries.

The map of English colony North Carolina, ca. 1763

Following this first contact with the American soil, and with a “country” inhabited by Secotan Indian tribe in eastern coastal America, the first notes about life in New World were about to be delivered to the English Queen. Manteo, a literate Secotan Indian, who lived in a village called Croatoan on the outmost now day Cape Hatteras Islands on the Atlantic Ocean, spoke English and was chosen for a translator between the Indians and the Englishmen. Upon his return to England, Walter Raleigh filled queen’s ears with news about the New World and about Native Americans, with their gold and jewelry, about gold mines and about the way of life in a “paradise prettier than Eden”. To honor his virgin queen, he named the newly found shores in New World after the queen – Virginia. The queen, in return, enjoyed “looking at tall and handsome Manteo - the queen bestowed her knighthood upon Raleigh and ordered the Second expedition to the New World”.

II – The Second Expedition and the Legend of a Silver Cup       

Following finalization and signing of a seven-year contract between the queen and Sir Raleigh, under which Sir Raleigh received queen’s Royal Charter to colonize the New World, Sir Raleigh sent Captains Amadas and Barlow and Ralph Lane, as a second in command, on a new expedition on April 9, 1585. Seven ships with 500 men and women sailed out from England under the supervision of Sir Richard Grenville. This time, by queen’s order, a queen’s official court artist by the name of John White also voyaged to the New World. They landed at Cape Hatteras by the end of July.    

The arrival of first pioneers to the New World

Indians hurried to the ships. Voyagers hurried to the mainland. The colonizers expected to see Indians wearing gold and other jewelry. Indians expected to see English men and women adorned with golden crowns and with golden necklaces. To everyone’s surprise, there was none of it. According to both oral and written tradition, while the voyagers roamed the mainland, the Indians welcoming the sail ships noticed a silver cup on a ship and they took it with them to the mainland. Upon returning to their ships, colonizers noticed the silver cup missing and they sent Ananias the bricklayer and eleven members of the crew to search for the “stolen” silver cup. While searching for the silver cup, they ravaged “and burned Indian houses” on Hatteras Islands – the houses in Croatoan village, where Manteo’s people lived, were also set on fire.

Following their return to the ships, the silver cup nowhere found, the colonizers decided to “take over” Roanoke Island and the shores of the newly founded colony of Virginia. Dream come true – they overcame the little resistance and settled Roanoke Island. John White made numerous sketches of bird and animal species and of Indian men and women he befriended.

About a month and a half later, Sir Richard Grenville, the supervisor of the Second expedition, and John White returned to England to bring new shipment of food to the colonizers in Virginia. Ralph Lane took the overall command of the English flotilla in the New World. After dividing colonizers into two groups, they went on in search of life in new colony. Lane’s group, with 40 men and 2 dogs, left upward by the Roanoke River in search of gold and copper in Indian mines, which were described by voyagers from the First expedition. They returned empty handed. The second group ventured southward to Chesapeake Bay. After spending winter in that area, they returned with news about a fertile Virginia and about the peace loving Indians. On the way back, they encountered Wingina, the king (chief) and a holy man of Secotan Indian tribe from Roanoke Island, who told them about a place with copper and jewelry abound. Unfortunately, according to him, no one knew exactly the location of such a place.

110 miles or so, further to the mainland, Menatonon, the king (chief) of Choanokos Indian tribe attested to Ralph Lane’s claims about the existence of the secret place with copper and jewelry – the problem was, one had to travel three days by canoes and four days by land in order to rich this “mine”. “King” Menatonon, to earn Lane’s trust, presented Lane with several black-pearled necklaces. According to a legend, chief Menatonon was a lame, but a shrewd one, who disliked Secotans. He “warned”, falsely,  the colonizers of Secotans’ plans to unite with other Indians and massacre the colonizers.

Upon returning empty handed, copper, gold, and jewelry nowhere found, Lane and his men learned that Sir Richard Grenville still had not return from England. In the meantime, chief Wingina took his tribe from Roanoke Island further to the mainland. Hunger ravaged among the colonizers. Ralph Lane blamed Wingina and his Secotan tribe for all the misery. One night, Lane and the members of his crew killed chief Wingina and sat on fire Wingina’s people tents. Soon thereafter, during a big Atlantic Sea storm, flotilla of Sir Francis Drake, a popular English sea voyager, entered the bay. This “sea wolf” was returning from sea battles against Spaniards by Florida. He stopped at Roanoke Island to see how the establishing of new colony was progressing. Only fifteen members of the colonizers from the Second expedition stayed on sandy Cape Hatteras Islands – the rest left the New World and voyaged back to England.

III – The Third Expedition and John White Colony on Roanoke Island

I the meantime, in London, Queen Elizabeth rejoiced in White’s sketches shown to her by Raleigh, which White ornamented to better their impact at the queen. The queen was impressed by Manteo’s handsome physical appearance and by his knowledge. Manteo was impressed by queen’s wealth. The Whitehall, the queen’s residence west of the London Gate, was the largest palace in Europe at the time. Under the roof of this palace lived 1,500 noblemen and courtiers who ate “33,024 chickens, 13,260 baby lambs, 8, 200 lambs, 1,240 cows and steers, 2,500 tons of “ale” and 60,000 pounds of butter” per year. The butchers in queen’s palace “sold more meat in one day than the people of Portugal ate in one year”.

As the good life in queen’s palace reached its peak, the news spread around about a possible attack by Spain’s sea armada against England’s lighter warships. Yet, the Queen of England was dreaming of yet another expedition to the New World and to the new English colony in America. This new venture to the New World would include not only the military personnel but also civilians – for purpose of spreading the Christianity and English Kingdom. Sir Walter Raleigh promised 500 acres of land to anyone willing to move to the New World. Done as promised – yet no one thought of how to manage 500 acres in the unknown land.                         
John White again took the role of a queen’s sketch artist .While Sir Raleigh planed the military aspects of the expedition, John White dreamed of a new, civil English colony with his family as being a central part of new society – he wanted to establish a new civil colony in Chesapeake Bay, not on Roanoke Island. Sir Raleigh received the new Royal Charter to colonize the New World; he received money and ships. Soon thereafter, John White was on the way back to the New World, as in advance designated governor to the English colony Virginia in his own city named “Cittie (City) of Raleigh” in Virginia.

On April 26, 1587, 3 ships carrying 87 men, 17 women and 11 children, John White and his six months pregnant daughter Eleanor and her husband Ananias the bricklayer, and Simon Fernandez, the captain, waved goodbye from their ship “Lion” to London and to England.  

The third expedition encountered misfortunes from the onset. Bad lack after bad lack finger pointed at Simon Fernandez: Fernandez refused to search for a smaller expedition boat lost along the Portuguese shores (almost half of  colonizers got lost with this ship); the colonizers fell to poison on Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; fresh water of Virgin Islands was forbidden to colonizers; this expedition was announced in Spanish circles as an expedition on the way to Roanoke Island, and not on the way to Chesapeake Bay.  Returning home with this expedition was Manteo, the translator – he was the only live connection between John White and the Native Americans.

Ananias Dare, his wife Eleanor and their baby girl Virginia,
The first English child born in now day America.

On August 18, White’s daughter, Eleanor, gave birth to a baby girl and named her Virginia Dare. In real life, John White, not a priest baptized the child.

The artist drawing of the baptism of baby girl Virginia Dare

On August 25, the ship lost along the Portuguese shores showed up with colonizers at Roanoke Island. With Manteo’s help, John White took all first pioneers to Manteo’s Croatoan people. Exhausted and hungry, they all became dependents of Croatans. John White learned that Native Americans killed the members of previous expedition, who stayed after along the shores of North Carolina. As time passed, White realized that his people became a heavy burden to Croatans and that they could not survive without additional food supplies – he decided to return to England for additional food and other necessities for the new colony. While boarding the ship previously lost along the Portuguese shores, John White instructed the missionaries, in case of an attack, to carve a Maltese cross into a tree.

IV – Return of John White to England and the Spanish-English War

Morning, August 27, 1587: John White sailed back to England. A day earlier, Simon Perez also sailed to seas and back to England.

On October 16, following great difficulties, John White docked by the shores of Ireland. It took him another fifteen days to enter the Plymouth harbor. Entering London, he learned that Simon Perez had already returned to London a month ago, and that civilians with the first pioneers made it safely to their new “Eden” in Chesapeake Bay. Finally, John White got his chance to present his version about the plight of the first pioneers. Astounded and in shock, Sir Walter Raleigh listened while John White spoke the truth. Following White’s presentation, Sir Raleigh immediately ordered a new expedition and help to pioneers in new colony. Unfortunately, the rumors of an imminent Spanish armada attack against England started to circulate again.

Finally, next winter, Sir Raleigh put together ships for both civilian and military purposes. By order of Walsingham, queen’s secretary of Navy and the first man in queen’s huge spy network, all ships sailed to defense against the Spanish armada (it turned out, this ship was not needed in defense against Spain since the queen had enough ships already). Finally, on April 22, 1588, the “Brave”, a 30-tone ship with John White, a captain and 30 colonizers set out to seas. A group of French pirate ships attacked them and looted the goods meant for the first civilians and missionaries in the new colony. John White was wounded, captain was killed, and heavily damaged “Brave” had to return to London.

Morning, July 19, 1588: the Spanish unbeatable sea armada took its stand in the open sea with 130 war ships, 20,000 soldiers, 8, 350 sailors and 2,630 cannons. Never before did the world see such a powerful sea power. Concluding that English ships were no match against the powerful Spanish sea armada, Sir Raleigh persuaded the queen to modify the English warships to a quicker armada. The queen accepted Raleigh’s recommendation. English sea armada triumphed over Spanish sea armada! – 55 Spanish ships were destroyed; Spain lost more than half of her military personnel. The Queen of England’s triumph was complete.

V – Return of John White to Roanoke Island and the “lost colony”

For the next two years, John White was unable to lease the ships for return to almost forgotten colonizers. Finally, on March 20, 1590 John White climbed to the deck of a Spanish ship “Hopewell”. This ship and its captain Cocke, originally on a mission to discoveries of underwater wealth, were not in rush to the Caribbean Islands. In the meantime, the Spanish government officials learned, via Spanish pirates, that John White was on the way to the new colony and that “Hopewell” had Spanish pirates on the run. “Hopewell” clashed with Spanish pirates off Jamaica. Spanish pirates suffered a total defeat.

Finally, on August 1, “Hopewell” pulled to the shores of now-days Cape Hatteras. No traces of humans were sighted anywhere.

Following the great difficulties while pulling the ships through shallow, sandy  waters and through heavy sea storms, in which most of the sailors were lost, John White, his crew and the new pioneers landed on Roanoke Island. They received no welcome. No one waited for them. Every trace to “first colony” and to Virginia Dare, John White’s granddaughter and the first English child born in New World, were lost.

John White returned to Roanoke Island and found only the word CROATOAN carved in a tree.

On sandy shores of Roanoke Island, “surrounding the area where the houses had been was a wooden stockade. John White moved closer to examine it, for nothing like it had been there before, and suddenly noticed that carved on it was the word: CROATOAN. White frown turned to laughter and he whooped aloud, for he knew that place. Croatoan was the island “where Manteo was born,” and the people were ”our friends.” There was no Maltese cross carved into trees. The “first colony” and 117 pioneers were not attacked. Finally, the lost colonizers were alive, or John White thought so. John White remembered: The carvings were “to signifie the place, where I should find the planters seated, according to a secret token agreed upon between them and me at my last departure from them...for at my coming away, they were prepared to remove 50 miles into the maine”. Croatoan was a village, present-day Buxton, south of Roanoke on present-day Hatteras, where Manteo, the translator, was born and where Croatans lived. Manteo’s people and John White were friends. Why didn’t they wait for him? Where did they go? Are they alive?

As evident, John White himself attested that before his return to England, the first pioneers spoke of a possible journey 50 miles further to the mainland, and not along the shores to Croatoan Island...

Wasting no time, White returned to “Hopewell”. He must find the “lost colony”. Captain Cocke finally aimed “Hopewell” towards Croatian Island. “As a great hurricane approached, the sea waves dragged “Hopewell” east of Roanoke Island and off the Secotan Indian land. Finally, on October 24, “Hopewell” docked in Plymouth harbor in England.” Is the saga about the “lost colony” over?

VI – Conclusion

1590 - According to historical sources, rumors had it that the queen’s most favorite man, Sir Walter Raleigh, was secretly married to Elizabeth Throckmorton, queen’s maid of honor. This rumor was proven to true in July 1592. The queen sent them both to Tower of London, a fortress palace in queen’s ownership, the notorious royal animal sanctuary, where Sir Raleigh spent the next thirteen years.

In 1597, the sixty year-four-year old queen welcomed Sir Raleigh back to court. Sir Raleigh attempted to reach Croatoan Island no less than six times – all attempts ending unsuccessfully.

The Queen Elizabeth died in 1603. England’s new monarch, King James of Scotland succeeded the queen. Those who did not like Sir Raleigh’s return back to court, convinced the new king that Raleigh is not trustworthy. On November 17, the military court sentenced Sir Raleigh to death. When people staged demonstrations, King James spared Sir Raleigh’s life and, in return, condemned him to life in prison in the Tower. This was the end of the man, who brilliantly defeated the Spain, and who established the first English colony in the New World.

The cover of John Lawson’s Voyage Journal.

In 1701, 114 years following the disappearance of the “lost colony”, surveyor John Lawson visited Hatorask Island (now day Hatteras Island, formerly Croatoan Island at the time of John White). To his surprise, a group of Secotan Indians with gray eyes started a conversation with him in English. They explained that they lived on Roanoke Island and that their ancestors were white. There were no other instances of mentioning Native Americans having gray eyes.  Does that mean that some members from the “lost colony” really went to Manteo’s Croatoan Island? If Lawson was certain they did so, than we Croats have the right to believe the same.

There are various explanations of why the first English colony became “lost”. The first colonizers, like Ralph Lane, could have been responsible for Secotan Indians’ revenge against the first pioneers. Perhaps Indians captured the first pioneers and kept them as slaves. The intrigues at queen’s court for sure contributed to new expeditions’ delays. Simon Fernandez, as a Portuguese navigator possibly had too many reasons to sabotage England and the colonizers. The Spanish-English war prevented a successful search for the first pioneers - that is for sure. Even the bad weather on open seas prevented successful search for lost pioneers.

Twenty years following the disappearance of first pioneers, deep inside the mainland, a new colony of Jamestown existed, made of formerly captured English colonizers.

Based on findings throughout the 420 years since the first English colony was established in the New World, there are plenty of reasons why this author believes Croatoan Island was an island inhabited by first Croatian immigrants in the New World.

Signet-ring dating to the period ca. 1650-1715
Found by Dr. David Phelps.

In 1998, Dr. David Phelps, Professor Emeritus and retired director of the East Carolina University Archaeology Laboratory, directed the Croatan Archaeological Project exploring the Cape Creek site, ancient capital of Croatan Indians and other sites on Hatteras Island. “His team discovered a 10-carat signet ring whose face bears an engraving of a prancing lion. The ring is believed to date to the 16th century.” The gold signet ring with the crest of a prancing lion “has been traced to the Kendall family, and its presence at Croatan probably links it to a “Master” Kendall who was a member of the Ralph Lane colony on Roanoke Island in 1585 to 1586.” In 1999-2000, Dr. Phelps’ team excavated, at the same site, a Croatan clay pot. This pot is of type “called Colington Fabric Impressed and has an elaborate geometric design incised into the surface”. “For security and controlled environment curation purposes, the signet ring was transferred to the Special Collections Department in Joyner Library on February 1, 2006. All other specimens from the Cape Creek site are curated at the East Carolina University Archaeology Laboratory under Accession No. 1283.”
This author is particularly interested in historical facts regarding Manteo the translator, presumably a Native American from Croatoan (Croatan) Island, now day Hatteras Island. Croats immigrated from Dalmatian islands and from towns on Adriatic shores to the New World even since Colombo’s voyages to the New World. Manteo is literate and with excellent knowledge of English Language. The color of his eyes, unfortunately, was never mentioned in almost 425 years of historical search for the ‘lost colony” and in voluminous research about its disappearance. Where did this sympathetic Manteo receive all his knowledge? Did Croats named him Mate, and did the American Natives pronounce his name Mateo, as in Spanish, and/or Manteo as in American Indian dialects. The name of island of his birth was Croatoan Island, and his people called themselves Croatoans (Croatans). His people were a peace loving people and they, Croatans, who possibly were a mix of Croats and American Indians (author), were friends with the American Natives. On Manteo’s island grew cedar and vineyards; from their grapes produced excellent wines. It all sounds a lot like our Croatian Dalmatian and our Croatian Adriatic Islands’ wines. The best wine produced on the east coast as well as on the west coast, is still being produced by individuals of Croatian origin, no doubt about it. By the way, the golden rush and migration of colonizers and the first pioneers from eastern parts of US to western parts of US occurred by the end of 18th and in 19th  century.

Even the name of the first child born in the first English colony in America, Virginia Dare, is itself enigmatic. Was family name Dare made up from Croatian first name Dara or from English verb to dare? Croatian-American family names have been often made up from Croatian first names: John Covich Zore (meaning the son of Zora); Lucija or Lucijan Mosor Mare (meaning the daughter and/or son of Mara), etc. Who can guarantee that the family name Dareis not Croatian first name assimilated into Americanized last name?

Abbreviation CRO can be taken for disinformation, since the root of numerous words in world languages, especially in Latin (and Italian and French), starts with CRO. Cro-Magnon (French) man, for example, was not a habitat in parts of Croatia but in caves of Cro-Magnon in southwest France, approximately 40,000 to 10,000 years ago. Word CROATOAN (CROATAN) is of Latin (Italian) origin and, by John White’s own account, “written by illiterate hand in English (Latin alphabet) Language instead in German Gothic alphabet”.

Following is the research synopsis about the “lost colony” and about Croats at that time compiled and edited by our foremost Croatian-American researcher Dr. Adam S. Eterovich from San Carlos, by family roots from Brach Island (otok Bra�) on Adriatic Sea in now day Croatia. Following this author’s conversation with Mr. Eterovich, this author realized the ever present willingness of brother Eterovich, the life long CFU member, to enlighten our Croatian influence in first pioneers’ ways of life in America. This author hereby realizes that it takes a lifetime to search, research and come up with positive conclusions about our Croatian roots and about our Croatian contributions to both American and world ways of life. 

Following is such testimony from brother Eterovich’s book:
“Croatia and Croatians and the Lost Colony 1585-1590”:

“America was being colonized by the English in 1585-1590 at Croatoan-Roanoke on the Atlantic coast in the Carolinas. This was called the Lost Colony. Sir Walter Raleigh was given a Royal Charter to colonize. When the English returned in 1590 they found carved on a tree Croatoan and no colonists. Western historians state that Croatoan-Croatan is an Indian word. This was the first English attempt to colonize in America.
In 1588 the great Spanish Armada attacked England. It is estimated that at least fifteen percent of the war galleons and merchant fleet under Spanish flag were from Dalmatia, Croatia.
In 1588 the Pope, Sixtus V, was a Croatian and the Great Vizier or Prime Minister of the Turkish Empire, Siavus Pasha Hrvat (Hrvat means Croatian) was a Croatian. At that point in time these two individuals were the most powerful and influential men in all of Europe. Both were immigrants; one an "Italian", the other a "Turk".

A Croatian traveling west in Europe or to the New World from 1300-1700 could have been identified in documents as Hungarian, Venetian, Austrian, Turkish, Italian-Venetian, Schiavon, Slavonian, Illyrian, Dalmatian or from the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik).

In 2003 to state or assume that Croatians participated in discovery of new lands and were with Columbus would not be believed and probably questioned in many circles. The 1400's-1650's were in fact a golden age for Croatia disproportionate to her size in territory and population, considering the Ottoman Turk invasion and conquest of Croatia up to Croatian-Dalmatia and the Republic of Ragusa.

Previous, during and after the discovery of America, Croatians participated in mercantile and diplomatic activities in Spain, Portugal, England, France, Florence, Venice, Genoa and in India, America, Canada, Central and South America. Their presence in England at the time of colonization was neither accidental nor luck.

Voyages on the American Coast - In 1498 John Cabot, discoverer of North America, started on his second voyage and then coasted along the East shore of the American mainland to Cape Hatteras. Explorations of later date found pieces of a broken sword of Italian workmanship, and that two silver earrings of Venetian make had been seen upon a boy who was a native of the North-West country in America which might indicate the destruction of part of Cabot's fleet. Cabot's lawyer was a Dalmatian from Dubrovnik-Ragusa.

New Dalmatia - The New England Coast was first called New Dalmatia by explorer Verrazano in 1524. This had been written about by French, Italian and American historians. Verrazano mentions Sclavonia, Dalmatia and names four islands after Dalmatian islands. Isola Lunga is Dugi Otok or Long Island, New York. Verrazano discovered New York and may have lost ships off the Carolina coast.

San Blas-Saint Vlaho - Jean Alfonse in the Alfonse Voyages of the 1540's along the Atlantic coast comments on passing Cap S. Blas, not naming it, with a notation of northeast of Florida in beautiful country at the port of Chatelain which would be Charleston, South Carolina. S. Blas is Saint Vlaho or Sveti Vlaho in Croatian. Saint Vlaho is the Patron Saint of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Levantine Mariners - In 1565 Menendez de Aviles, the new governor of Florida, wiped out a colony of French Huguenots trying to settle near present-day Jacksonville. The "Levantine" mariners aboard the Flagship rebelled and took the ship and disappeared. Navigation would dictate that the ship went north and could have crashed off of Hatteras. Levantine mariners were usually Dalmatian-Croatian Catholics. Spain would not allow on her ships Greek Orthodox or Moslems.

Sir Walter Raleigh and Nikola Gozi-Gucetich - Sir Walter Raleigh and Nikola Gozi-Gucetich held meetings in 1585 in London, prior to the voyage, with the admiral Lord Charles Howard of Effingham. Croatoan Island was first called My Lord Admirals Island in honor of Lord Howard of Effingham. Nikola Gozi-Gucetich of Dubrovnik was the second largest foreign banker in England. His nephew, Paolo Gondola-Gundulich, wrote letters to a friend in Florence from London of Drake and Raleigh in Virginia and other voyages. The Dalmatian-Croatian colony had a Fraternity in London. They probably were venture capitalists in a number of English voyages of exploration.

Croatian Place Names in North Carolina - Place names and names found in North Carolina associated with Croatia are: Croatamonge, Croatamung Island, Croatan Indians, Croatan Indian Park, Croatan National Forest, Croatan Sound, Croatan Township, Croatan Wildlife Area, Croatoan and Croatoan Island.

Croato an--Croat an - Croato-Croata-Croati is the Italian form of Croatia or Croatian. The Italian alphabet does not have a K. When a person is from a place such as Split, Dubrovnik, Ragusa, Zagreb, as examples ---- you can say he is a: Splitcan, Hvaran, Dubrovcan, Ragusan, Zagrebcan, Trogiran, Hercegovan. Croatia was not a country in the 1500s but a part of Venice, Austria, Hungary and Turkey or the Republic of Dubrovnik-Ragusa. One could say they were: Croatians, Croatans or Croatoans. All historians and experts state that Croatoan is an Algonquin Indian name. Other experts state there is no CR or KR sound in the Algonquin language in that area.

Is Ottorasko-Hrvatsko (Croatia)? - Cape Hatteras: Place name variations included Hatarask, Hotoras, Hatorask, Hatorasck, Hatrask, Otterasco, 0ttorasko. Ottorasko was the earliest name given to this island south of Port Ferdinando with Croatoan southward from it again.

Melingi-Melingoi - The Melungeon, Lumbee, and Croatan groups in America claim to be a mixture of Indian and European mariners, liberated slaves, Lost Colonists, and remnants of Spanish and Portuguese settlements. There is considerable speculation as to the origin of the name Melungeon. The Melingi-Melingoi were Slavic groups in the Balkans that would have willingly served in Turkish fleets.

Turkish Slaves - Sir Frances Drake liberated hundreds of slaves in the Caribbean while plundering Spanish settlements. Drake brought material help to the Roanoke Colony and left the Turks and Moors and some European slaves at Roanoke. These liberated slaves far outnumbered the English Colonists; some left with Drake and were returned to Turkey. The Turkish slaves were captured in sea battles in the Mediterranean. Almost all Turkish admirals in the 1500s were Croatian-Dalmatians. Bosnia-Herzegovina, half of Croatia and parts of the Dalmatian coast, all part of the Croatian kingdom, were conquered by Turkey. Many Dalmatian mariners served in Turkish fleets; the second language at the Turkish Court for the military and marine was Croatian. Twenty-two Great Viziers (Prime Ministers) of the Turkish Empire were Croatians.

Fish - At the Lost Colony, Ribuckon meant in Algonquin Indian a fishing place or fish; Cipo was mullet fish; Cante-Cante meant to sing and dance and Sat was time. There were many other similarities. Gray eyes and blondish hair amongst the Indians was noted for centuries. Gray eyes and light hair is found in Croatia in great numbers and not found in any other Mediterranean people.

Research should be done at Istanbul, Turkey to determine the names of those "Turks" returned by the English from the Lost Colony. DNA and blood testing is now being   conducted, but is not considering Croatians or Croatia and Bosnia.”
This author is hereby profoundly indebted and thankful to all concerned for their kind and noble international teachings of our Croatian contribution to earliest American ways of life. We Croats and Croatian-Americans can proudly convene these teachings to generations to come.


  • Lee Miller: Roanoke – the Miystery of the Lost Colony, 2007;
  • Susan E. Haberle: The North Carolina Colony, 2006;
  • Jean Fritz/Hudson Talbott: The Lost Colony of Roanoke, 2004;
  • Forth Raleigh National Historic Site National Park Service;
  • John Lawson: A New Voyage to Carolina, London, 1709;
  • Dr. David S. Phelps: Guide to the Croatan Archaeological Site Collection, Manuscript collection             #1061;
  • Dr. Adam S. Eterovich: Croatia and Croatians and the Lost Colony 1585-1590, San Carlos,      Ragusan Press, 2003 (research summary).

Written by:

Ivan Marjanovic De Tonya
Croatian American poet and author


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