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Roanoke Islandapprox. 11 mi. long and 2¼ mi. wide, E Dare County; it is separated by Roanoke Sound from Bodie Island (Outer Banks) on the E and from the mainland by Croatan Sound on the w. Site of Fort Raleigh, center of English exploration and settlement, 1584-87. Name believed to be of Algonquian Indian origin signifying "northern people" or "northerners," referring to the fact that the Indians lived on the N end of the island or that they had earlier migrated from an ancestral home in the n. The name Roanoke also came to be applied to shell beads. Site of freedman's colony, 1865. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is on the N end of the island. See also Manteo; Carteret.
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