Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

History BA



First Advisor

Joseph Peterson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Matthew Casey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sabine Heinhorst, Ph.D.

Advisor Department



The Roanoke Colony was the first English colony in America. The colonists were abandonded by the Governor shortly after the colony was established. In public memory, the fate of the colony is highly debated and has since become an American founding myth. As a result of the contested fate, the story of Roanoke has since become a blank slate upon which other legends can evolve. These legends become a window for historians into the insecurities of those who created them. This paper discusses why the English wanted to establish a colony, the popularization of Pocahontas, the history of marriages between Europeans and Native Americans in America, The Lost Colony play by Paul Green, and recent popluar culture pieces that mention Roanoke. Each part of the evolution of this story holds meaning about the time in which it originated. Roanoke simply serves as the vessel through which we come to understandings about public memory and the history of mixed marriages in America.

Keywords: Lost Colony, Roanoke, memory, Native Americans, Outer Banks, marriage