The Roanoke Voyages (1584-1590), Third of Five Roanoke Voyages with Emphasis on Geographic Naming

The following is the fifth segment of a guest blog post series by Roger L. Payne, author of The Outer Banks Gazetteer: The History of Place Names from Carova to Emerald Isle. A book over twenty years in the making, The Outer Banks Gazetteer is a comprehensive reference guide to the region’s place names—over 3,000 entries in all. Click here to view Roger Payne’s entire guest blog series.

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The Third Voyage (1586) was Grenville’s Relief Expedition to deliver much needed supplies and reinforcements to the military colony at Roanoke Island.

There were actually two separate visits at this time counted as one voyage. Firstly, Raleigh had outfitted, at his own expense, one relief ship, which arrived shortly after Lane and the colony had vacated with Drake. Upon finding no one, they left for England. About two weeks later, Grenville arrived as well with three relief ships for the military colony. After, several days of searching and finding no trace of Lane’s colony and unable to discover information about the colony from the indigenous peoples, Grenville decided to return to England. However, he did not want to relinquish English claim to this land, and so he decided to leave 15 men with two years of supplies. A few researchers consider this the second attempt at colonization, but most including Hakluyt consider it merely as a continuation of the first colony. There are no known or surviving maps or naming actions from this voyage.

Raleigh is planning for another attempt at colonization, which becomes the fourth voyage and ultimately, the famed Lost Colony.

Roger L. Payne is executive secretary emeritus of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.