Valid hypotheses about the Lost Colony of 1587 on Roanoke Island have existed since the settlers' disappearance. In 1603, Bartholomew Gilbert attempted the last contemporary expedition to locate the colonists, but his search ended with the death of himself and four crewmen at the hands of Algonquian natives. John Smith, an influential leader of the Jamestown Colony of 1607, had heard stories from Native American chiefs about villages where some of the men wore European-style clothing. His search efforts would come up empty-handed, except for producing a map showing the locations of the suspected communities with walled housing. It wasn't until 1701 with John Lawson's expedition to the then Province of Carolina that a European exploration would again check the Roanoke site along with the Croatoan area, which became Hatteras Island. Lawson's examination of Roanoke yielded few clues except for the ruins of a fort and some English items. His meeting with the Hatteras natives, however, provided a curious revelation: some of the Hatteras tribal members had gray eyes and claimed a few of their ancestors were white. After Lawson's search, with inconclusive evidence and no forensic methodology at the time, interest in the Lost Colony's fate faded over the decades. In the 430 years since the colonist's disappearance, hypotheses ranging from massacre and conspiracy to assimilation have remained unprovable. Even with tantalizing finds through recent archaeology and DNA research, we are still one conclusive discovery away from declaring the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a "Mystery Solved!"
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