Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Virginia Dare (18 August 1587 – 1588) is a colonial figure born on Roanoke Island in the Colony of Roanoke, now in North Carolina. As the first child to be born in America of English parents, she once figured more prominently in a purely Anglocentric view of American history than she does today.
Her parents, Eleanor (Ellinor, Elyonor) and Ananias Dare , had been among the approximately 120 settlers who left England on 8 May, 1587, on an expedition sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh had intended that the settlement should be established in the Chesapeake Bay area, but the captain of their ship, the Lion, had his passengers land instead on Roanoke Island, the site of an unsuccessful earlier colonization venture.
Aside from the circumstances of her birth, Virginia Dare's life remains a mystery. Nine days after her birth, on 27 August, 1587, her grandfather, Governor John White, left the colony for England, acting as Roanoke's agent in obtaining further aid and assistance for the colony. He arrived in England that November as the nation was about to go to war with Spain. It was not until August 1590 that White reached Roanoke with a relief expedition. It found no trace of the settlers—only the word "croatoan" carved on a post. The infant Virginia Dare had vanished along with all other Roanoke colonists. Some believe that the survivors of the "Lost Colony" were absorbed into the Croatan tribe. Others believe that the colonists moved to another nearby island, although no trace was found.
A woman named Virginia Dare appears in Gregory Keyes' fantasy novel The Briar King. Keyes uses several hints and word clues to indicate this character is meant to be the historical figure. Another fictionalized version of Virginia appears in the Neil Gaiman Marvel comic 1602.
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