Virginia Dare, America’s first-born immigrant
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On this day in 1587 Virginia Dare was born, the first child of English parents to be born in North America.
In 1937 a US postage stamp was issued in her honour. She was born in the ill-fated colony of Roanoake, North Carolina that was founded in 1585 under a charter given to Sir Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth the first. The small colony had difficult relations with the local Indians and may perhaps have been attacked and annihilated.
Certainly when the governor John White returned from a trip to England for supplies in 1590, he found the place deserted and no clues as to what had happened. Perhaps the colonists died from disease or else were forced to put themselves under the protection of the local tribes. Stories later emerged of Europeans being seen living in tribal villages.
The first English child born to Pilgrims in North America was Peregrine White, born aboard the Mayflower in harbour in 1620. Hence this well-known ditty:
Peregrine White and Virginia Dare
Were the first real Americans
Others might find it
Strange to come
Over the ocean
To make a home.
England and memory
Left behind – –
But Virginia and Peregrine
One of them born
And the other cradled
Today I ask help for all young children wherever they may be born.