Find out about the first Europeans to settle in America

The colonists in Children of the Wild came from the West Country and were skilled farmers. They knew how to grow their own food, rear animals and keep themselves alive in a new land.

The reality was a little different. When the actual expedition to North America set sail in 1587, most of the colonists came from London. They were poor and they didn’t have jobs. They set sail in the hope of making their fortunes in the newly discovered land.

They were promised huge areas of countryside on which they could build farmhouses and were told that ships would regularly sail from England, bringing anything they might need.

Despite these promises, it took a lot of persuasion to convince them to abandon their homes in England and set sail for the far side of the world.

The leader of the colony, John White, had hoped to attract 150 colonists. In the end, only 100 signed up for the voyage to North America.

Many were single men. Others were married, but decided to leave their wives and children in England until they’d built themselves homes in the new land.

John White also managed to convince 14 families to set sail, along with 17 women.

The colony described in Children of the Wild is not so very different from the real colony that was established on Roanoke Island.