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Island, off the North Carolina coast, U.S. Situated near the southern entrance to Albemarle Sound, the island is about 12 mi (19 km) long and 3 mi (5 km) wide. It was the site of the first English settlement in North America; its original colonists, sent by Walter Raleigh, arrived in mid-1585 but stayed only until 1586. A second group arrived in 1587; Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas, was born on the island. When a supply ship arrived in 1590, all the colonists, including Virginia, had vanished; their fate is unknown. During the American Civil War the island was captured in 1862 by Union forces under Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. It is now a resort and residential area.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Roanoke Island, visit Britannica.com.