Virginea Pars map, including Roanoke Island, drawn by John White during his initial visit in 1585
In 1606, King James I divided the Atlantic seaboard in two, giving the southern half to the London Company (later the Virginia Company) and the northern half to the Plymouth Company. The first English settlement in North America had actually been established some 20 years before, in 1587, when a group of colonists (91 men, 17 women and nine children) led by Sir Walter Raleigh settled on the island of Roanoke. Mysteriously, by 1590 the Roanoke colony had vanished entirely. Historians still do not know what became of its inhabitants.