On This Day 19 June

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-06-19
In 1865 slaves were freed in Texas (Juneteenth); in 325 the Nicene Creed was adopted; the establishing of the London Police, known as Bobbies after Robert Peel who introduced the Act in 1829. We'll look today at the failed attempt of English colonists in Roanoke in 1586


Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Liberation Day it's an official holiday in Texas and celebrated unofficially across the US. In 1865 in Galveston (Texas) General Gordon Granger proclaimed that all slaves in Texas were now free (although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them in 1865). Slavery was not completely abolished in the US until the 6th of December 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Roanoke Colony

200 years prior to Juneteenth, in 1585, there were attempts by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a permanent settlement in North America (although much of the land was already claimed by Spain). Queen Elizabeth II issued a charter in 1584 to Raleigh to establish a colony by 1591 or he would lose the right to colonisation. He didn't personally lead the expeditions as he was forbidden from leaving the Queen's side; the first attempt was led by Ralph Lane.

Learn more about Sir Walter Raleigh through Drunk History UK


ralph lane

It is estimated that about 600 men were part of the first expedition, half of which were to remain in the colony. 7 ships departed Plymouth in April 1585 and arrived in June. They established a colony and managed to survive through acquiring food from neighbouring villages (e.g. corn). One of the colonists, Harriot, noticed that each town the visited was shortly thereafter struck by an epidemic - likely influenza or smallpox. One of the native tribes (Secotan) thought the disease due to supernatural forces unleashed by the colonists. Their chief, Wingina, fell ill and was not responding to traditional medicine. He did recover after asking for prayers from the colonists; further embedding the supernatural forces idea.

A_chiefe_Herowan Chief - thought to be Wingina

Food shortages and aggression towards the native inhabitants resulted in the colony struggling to survive. They contacted Sir Francis Drake who was on his return to England from South American raids who eventually agreed to take them back to England abandoning the colony on this day.

Second Colony

A second colony was sent and arrived in 1587 which eventually required relief to be sent from England. In 1590 a relief mission was sent, however none of the colony's boats were found, their houses had been dismantled and materials removed. This second colony is known as the Lost Colony and you can learn more about it in the below video from National Geographic.

roanoke map

National Geographic short video about the Lost Colony

Other events on this day

  • 325: Nicene Creed adopted by the First Council of Nicaea
  • 1269: King Louis IX (France) decreed that all Jews must wear a yellow badge in public or be fined
  • 1586: English colonists left Roanoke Island, failing to establish the first permanent settlement in North America
  • 1829: Sir Robert Peel introduced Metropolitan Police Act into parliament; establishing the London police force (known as Bobbies, derived from his first name)
  • 1865: Juneteenth - freeing of slaves in Texas
  • 1867: Emperor of Mexico (Maximilian) was executed by firing squad
  • 1917: the British Royal Family renounced their German names (Saxe-Coburg) and adopted the name Windsor
  • 1973: Rocky Horror Picture Show first opened in London
  • 2017: Brexit negotiations began between the UK and European Union
  • 2018: General Electric (original member of the Dow Jones Index in 1907) is dropped from the index
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