Arago: Roanoke Voyages Issue

Roanoke Voyages Issue

A 20-cent commemorative stamp recognizing the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first English settlers in the New World was issued on July 13, 1984, in Manteo, North Carolina. The First Day of Issue ceremony was held in front of the Visitors Center there in conjunction with other activities commemorating this event.

On March 25, 1584, Queen Elizabeth I granted Walter Raleigh permission to establish a colony in the New World. Raleigh formed an expedition and, with Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow in command, set sail on April 27. On July 13 of that same year, they landed on what is now the coast of North Carolina and took possession of the new land in the name of the Queen. Upon their return home, Elizabeth, pleased with the reports, knighted Walter Raleigh.

Unsuccessful colonization expeditions followed in 1585 and 1587. The first time, Raleigh outfitted an expedition of 108 men who sailed from Plymouth, England, to Roanoke Island. Plagued by shortages of food, inadequate housing, and Indian hostility, they returned to England. In 1587, Raleigh dispatched a second group of ninety-one men, seventeen women, and nine children to Roanoke Island, where Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents in the New World, was born on August 18. A ship carrying supplies to the colony landed in 1590, but no evidence of the colonists was found. The fate of the 'Lost Colony' remains one of the history's mysteries.

Since no original plans or specifications exist for any of the vessels of the Roanoke voyages, maritime artist Charles Lundgren of New Milford, Connecticut, based his design on a description of a representative vessel, the Elizabeth, found in the account of the 1585 voyage. Richard C. Sennett modeled the stamp. The stamp was printed in the photogravure process and issued in panes of fifty.


Postal Bulletin (June 14, 1984).

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