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, also spelled Roanoac
, tribe were a Carolina Algonquian
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...
-speaking people whose territory comprised present-day Dare County, Roanoke Island
Roanoke Island is an island in Dare County near the coast of North Carolina, United States. It was named after the historical Roanoke Carolina Algonquian people who inhabited the area in the 16th century at the time of English exploration....
and part of the mainland at the time of English exploration and colonization. They were one of the numerous Carolina Algonquian tribes, which may have numbered 5,000-10,000 people in total in eastern North Carolina at the time of English encounter.
The last known chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...
of the Roanoke was Wanchese
Wanchese was the last known ruler of the Roanoke Native American tribe encountered by English colonists in the late sixteenth century. Along with Chief Manteo he travelled to London in 1584, where the two men created a sensation at court...
, who traveled to England with colonists in 1584. The smaller Croatan
The Croatan were a small Native American group living in the coastal areas of what is now North Carolina. They may have been a branch of the larger Roanoke people or allied with them....
people may have been a branch of the Roanoke or a separate tribe allied with it.
The Roanoke may have had their capital on the western shore of Croatan Sound
Croatan Sound is an inlet in Dare County, North Carolina. It connects Pamlico Sound with Albemarle Sound, and is bordered to the east by Roanoke Island; Roanoke Sound is on the other side of the island. Its name comes from the Croatan Indians who once inhabited the area.The Croatan Sound is crossed...
, at Dasamonguepeuk
. This was one of the significant towns noted by the English colonists in the sixteenth century.
Numerous place names were derived from the Roanoke.