Roanoke Island

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Coordinates: 35°53′N 75°39′W / 35.883°N 75.65°W / 35.883; -75.65

Roanoke Island is an island in Dare County near the coast of North Carolina, United States. It was named after the historical Roanoke Carolina Algonquian people who inhabited the area in the 16th century at the time of English exploration.

About eight miles (12 km) long and two miles (3 km) wide, Roanoke Island lies between the mainland and the barrier islands, with Albemarle Sound on its north, Roanoke Sound at the northern end, and Wanchese CDP at the southern end. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is on the island. There is a land area of 17.95 square miles (46.48 km²) and a population of 6,724 as of the 2000 census.

Located along U.S. Highway 64, a major highway from mainland North Carolina to the Outer Banks, Roanoke Island combines recreational and water features with historical sites and an outdoor theater to form one of the major tourist attractions of Dare County.

Roanoke Island is best known in European-American history for its historical significance as the site of Sir Walter Raleigh's attempt to establish a permanent English settlement with his Roanoke Colony in 1585 and 1587. The fate of the final group of colonists has never been determined, yielding persistent myths. Stories about the "Lost Colony" have circulated for over 400 years. In the 21st century, even as archaeologists, historians and scientists continue to work to resolve the mystery, visitors come to see the longest-running outdoor theater production in America: "The Lost Colony".

Roanoke Island is one of the three oldest surviving English place-names in the U.S. Along with the Chowan and Neuse rivers, it was named in 1584 by Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, sent by Sir Walter Raleigh.[1]

It is also the site of ancient indigenous settlements. Archeological excavations in the early 1980s at the Tillett Site at Wanchese have revealed evidence of various cultures dating back to 8000 BC. Ancestors of the Roanoke coalesced as a people in about 400 AD. Wanchese was used as a seasonal fishing village for 1500 years before English colonial settlement.[2]

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