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Roanoke Disappearances

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Home > Free English Tests for ESL/EFL > English Language Proficiency Test, Advanced Level # 351
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How 123 English men, women and children disappeared in 1587 on Roanoke Island in Virginia has long perplexed historians. Archeologists and historians have researched the few clues left behind.

Correct answer: (d) perplexed

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John White, an English seafarer and governor of the first English colony in America, had sailed back to England during the subsequent disappearance of the colonists.

Correct answer: (a) subsequent

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His written account of the voyage to Roanoke revealed sinister schemes and political intrigues that may have contributed to the mystery.

Correct answer: (b) sinister

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White was unable to return to Roanoke for three years due to the threat of a treacherous Spanish invasion. Queen Elizabeth ordered all English ships to remain in port.

Correct answer: (a) treacherous

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John White was especially concerned about returning to Roanoke as he knew how vulnerable the settlers were to Indian attack. In the deserted settlement, he found only one clue carved into a stake: "CROATOAN".

Correct answer: (b) vulnerable

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Several suppositions were discussed. Perhaps the disappearance of the settlers was due to disease or murder. However, no graves were ever found.

Correct answer: (a) suppositions

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Previously, Sir Walter Raleigh had been granted 8.5 million acres of American land by Queen Elizabeth with the proviso that a permanent colony must be settled there within seven years or he would lose the land grant.

Correct answer: (b) proviso

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Raleigh's power and influence with the Queen created great rivalry with Sir Francis Walsingham. Historians now believe the settlers were pawns in a conspiracy by Walsingham to send Raleigh into ruin and disgrace.

Correct answer: (a) conspiracy

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In 1608, it was reported that the chief of the Powhatan tribe had confessed to killing all of the Roanoke settlers. Historians believe this was erroneous, made up to justify intrusion into the Native American land and the killing of the natives.

Correct answer: (d) erroneous

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The mystery may have been solved in 1701 when the English surveyor, John Lawson, wrote about meeting light-skinned American Indians on Croatoan Island. He was flabbergasted to learn some of the ancestors were white people who spoke English.

Correct answer: (a) flabbergasted

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