‘Croatoan’ – A Lost Chapter in American History

The word “croatoan” has a fascinating history that dates back to the 16th century. It is most commonly assocated with the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke Colony, which was established in 1587 on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina.

The colony was led by Governor John White, who had previously visited the area in 1585 as part of a reconnaissance mission for Sir Walter Raleigh. The colonists arrived with the hope of establishing a permanent settlement, but things did not go as planned.

Just three years after the colony was established, Governor White returned to England to gather supplies. When he returned in 1590, he found the colony abandoned. The only clues as to what had happened were the words “Croatoan” carved into a post and “Cro” carved into a nearby tree.

So what does “croatoan” mean? It is actually the name of an island located south of Roanoke, which is now known as Hatteras Island. At the time, it was home to the Croatoan tribe, who were known to have friendly relations with the colonists.

Some historians believe that the colonists may have integrated with the Croatoan tribe or moved to their island, as there were no signs of a struggle or forced evacuation. Others speculate that they may have met a more tragic fate, perhaps at the hands of hostile Native American tribes or due to illness or starvation.

Despite extensive searches and investigations over the years, the fate of the Roanoke Colony remains a mystery. The only concrete evidence we have of their existence is the word “croatoan” carved into a post, which serves as a haunting reminder of a lost chapter in American history.

The meaning of “croatoan” is tied to the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony and the island on which it was carved. While we may never know the full story of what happened to the colonists, the word “croatoan” continues to capture the imagination and intrigue of historians and the public alike.

What Does Croatoan Carving Mean?

The carving of the word “Croatoan” in American Horror Story is a reference to the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke Colony in North Carolina in 1590. “Croatoan” was the name of a nearby island and the only clue left behind by the colonists. Theories about what happened to the colony have included everything from disease and famine to attacks by Native Americans and even supernatural events. The use of “Croatoan” in the show is a nod to the unsolved mystery and the eerie circumstances surrounding the disappearance.

meaning of croatoan

What Does Croatoan Mean In The Lost Colony?

In the context of the Lost Colony, Croatoan refers to the name of an island located south of Roanoke, which is now kown as Hatteras Island. This island was home to a Native American tribe, also called Croatoan, who lived in the area at the time. When John White, the leader of the Lost Colony, returned to Roanoke after a three-year absence, he found the settlement abandoned and the word “Croatoan” carved into a nearby tree. This has led historians to believe that the colonists may have relocated to the nearby Croatoan Island to live with the indigenous people. Therefore, in this context, Croatoan is associated with the mysterious disappearance of the Lost Colony and the potential role of the Croatoan tribe in its fate.

Is The Croatoan Tree Still There?

According to historical records, the tree on which John White found the word “Cro” carved is no longer in existence. The carving of “Croatoan” was actually made on a post of the Roanoke Colony’s fort. Therefore, there is no current standing tree that bears the carving of the word “Croatoan”.

Why Was Croatoan Carved In A Tree?

In 1587, Governor White left Roanoke Island to gather supplies for the growing colony. Before leaving, he and the colonists agreed that they would carve a message in a tree if they were to move. When White returned to the island in 1590, he found that the fort was abandoned and the word “CROATOAN” was carved on a post. It is believed that the colonists may have moved to Croatoan Island, which was inhabited by Native Americans of the same name. It is also possible that the colonists were attacked or faced other hardships that led to their disappearance. The carving of “CROATOAN” serves as a mysterious clue to the fate of the lost colony of Roanoke.


The meaning of “croatoan” holds a significant place in American history and folklore. It is believed to be a reference to the lost colony of Roanoke, which has puzzled historians and researchers for centuries. The word itself was carved onto a post in the fort of the Roanoke Colony, indicating a possile direction or location of the colonists who disappeared without a trace. Some theories suggest that they may have moved to the nearby Croatoan Island, now known as Hatteras Island, to seek refuge with the Native American tribe of the same name. While the mystery of the lost colony may never be fully solved, the word “croatoan” remains a haunting reminder of a dark and enigmatic chapter in American history.

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William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with H-O-M-E.org, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.