Process Paper When searching for a topic, the colonization of America sparked our interest.

We decided to choose the topic of the Roanoke Colony - a failed attempt to establish permanent English settlement in what later became the Virginia Colony - because we want to learn more about its colonists’ mysterious disappearance following the Anglo-Spanish War, and why their fate has yet to be determined. We began our research by obtaining a general overview of this topic, as well as possible theories for the colonists’ disappearance through various encyclopedias including Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Encyclopedia Virginia with the search term, “Roanoke Colony”. In subsequent research sessions, we went to library databases such as eLibrary and Infotrac, as well as the Bedford Public Library’s online catalogue, and general search engines. We found many books, articles, and journals that helped answer our questions with the search terms, “Roanoke Colony”, “Lost Colony” and “Sir Walter Raleigh”. From these searches many sources appeared including primary source Colony at Roanoke, which proved to be exceptionally beneficial and interesting. It was written by Ralph Lane as a first-hand view of life at the Roanoke Colony in a letter reporting back to Sir Walter Raleigh. Similarly, a National Geographic article referenced a report written by Arthur Barlowe - a co-captain on a ship of English settlement to Roanoke Island - and this became another one of our valuable primary sources. We continued to use these means of research after our first major research check, and we collected a variety of useful sources. We also found articles providing evidence of a drought during the time of the colony, which opened up new questions and research potential. By the completion of our second major research check, we had gained a greater and deeper knowledge about Roanoke Island, especially in regards to its geographical factors. We chose to work in a group because we knew that we would all be committed to the project, while also being able to work nicely together to achieve our goal. We all have organized, studious, and ambitious personalities, so we agreed that we would be able to work around one another’s schedules and collaborate well together through our work. With a strong sense of direction we narrowed down our topic to formulate an essential question: What set up Roanoke colony for failure? Did the geography of Roanoke Island contribute in any way to the colonists’ mysterious disappearance? Was a drought on Roanoke Island important factors? What were its effects? After fruitful research we all gained valuable information and were able to develop our thesis statement: The idea of settling the American coastline was put into action when Queen Elizabeth granted charter of Roanoke Colony to Sir Walter Raleigh. However, the colonists of this first-ever American settlement were doomed for failure from the start. Due to poor relations with the natives, negative geographical timing, and ineffective connections with the mother country from foreign wars, the lost colony of Roanoke became a cautionary tale to the subsequent settlements of America.

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