English Colonization


US History European Colonization English Colonization
Students learn about the last European country to establish a colony in North America, England. They learn about the first English settlement, known today as the "Lost Colony." Then they explore the reasons for British colonization, including a primary source document. Finally, they consider why the British colonies were able to survive where the Spanish, French, and Dutch failed.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the last European country to establish a colony in North America, England. They learn about the first English settlement, known today as the “Lost Colony.” Then they explore the reasons for British colonization, including a primary source document. Finally, they consider why the British colonies were able to survive where the Spanish, French, and Dutch failed.

Students will collaborate in small groups for scenes 2–4.

Objective:

  • Identify the reasons for English colonization in North America.


When people think of the colonies that would become the United States, they generally think of the British colonies. In fact, England was the last of the four major countries to establish colonies in North America, behind Spain, France, and the Netherlands. Still, the British were to have the biggest long-term impact on the future United States. Their colonies shaped the political and social fabric of what would become the United States of America.

Objective:

  • Identify the reasons for English colonization in North America.




Baptism of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America
 

England’s first few attempts to establish a colony in North America failed. One of these, Roanoke Colony, is also known as the Lost Colony because it disappeared and no one knows to this day what happened to the colonists. Here is a simple timeline of events that are known about Roanoke Colony:

  • English settlers built a fort in 1585 on Roanoke Island, in what is today North Carolina. The fort was attacked by Native Americans a year later.
  • Sir Frances Drake stopped at the colony and took a few colonists back to England on his return voyage.
  • Sir Richard Greenville arrived in 1586 with a ship of supplies for the colony, and found it abandoned.
  • In 1587, a new group of 115 settlers arrived, including Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America.
  • Due to the Anglo-Spanish War, no English ship was able to reach Roanoke Colony with supplies until 1590. When the ship arrived, there was no trace of the settlers, nor was there any sign of a battle or struggle.
  • The only clue left behind was the word CROATOAN carved into a tree. There was a nearby island named Croatoan Island and there was a Croatan Indian tribe.


Use your imagination and write a few sentences describing what might have happened to the settlers.

Post your answer

You can recommend that students read the National Geographic article, “Have We Found the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island?”, available in the student pack.


Divide students into their small groups for the next three scenes. When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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