The Croatan were a small Native American group living in the coastal areas of what is now North Carolina. They may have been a branch of the larger Roanoke people or allied with them.

The Croatan lived in current Dare County, an area encompassing the Alligator River, Croatan Sound, Roanoke Island, and parts of the Outer Banks, including Hatteras Island. Now extinct as a tribe, they were one of the Carolina Algonquian peoples, numerous at the time of English encounter in the 16th century. The Roanoke territory also extended to the mainland, where they had their chief town on the western shore of Croatan Sound. Scholars believe the Algonquians had a total population of 5,000 to 10,000.

Croatan Indians were a part of the Carolina Algonquians, a southeastern designation of the greater Algonquian source. Agriculture was the Indians’ primary food source, and the fact that they could feed the colonists as well as themselves demonstrates very effectively the efficiency of their farming. English audience would have approved much about the Indian culture, particularly the regulation of each person’s position in society by public marks. The chiefs or leaders, called werowances, controlled between one and eighteen towns. The greatest were able to muster seven or eight hundred fighting men. The English marveled at the great awe in which these werowances were held, saying no people in the world carried more respect towards their leaders. Werowance actually means “he who is rich”. Chiefs and their families were held in great status and with respect, but they had to convince followers that action or cause was wise, they did not command. The role of the chief was to spread wealth to his tribe, otherwise respect was lost.

The Indians living in the Carolinas believed in the immortality of the soul. Upon death, the soul either enters heaven to live with the gods or goes to a place near the setting sun called Popogusso, to burn for eternity in a huge pit. The concept of heaven and hell was used on the common people to respect leaders and live a life that would be beneficial to them in the afterlife. Conjurors and Priests were distinctive spiritual leaders. Priests were chosen for their knowledge and wisdom, and were leaders of the organized religion. Conjurors on the other hand were chosen for their magical abilities. Conjurors were thought to have powers from a personal connection with a supernatural being(mostly spirits from the animal world).

It is known that the coming of Europeans upset tribal relationships; some tribes advocated cooperation, some resistance. Those tribes who had contact came to gain power through their control of European trade goods. Whatever military might the English held over the Carolina Algonquians, the Indians could nevertheless wage a much more decisive war of food. All the Indians had to do was lose contact with the English, and the English would have been completely helpless. Despite the varying relationships among tribes, the Roanoke and Croatan were believed to have been on good terms with English settlers of the Roanoke Colony. Wanchese, the last leader of the Roanoke, accompanied the English on a trip to England.

The Croatan, like other Carolina Algonquians, suffered from epidemics of infectious disease, such as smallpox in 1698. These greatly reduced the tribe's numbers and left them subject to colonial pressure. They are believed to have become extinct as a tribe by the early seventeenth century.

Read more about Croatan:  Nineteenth Century Claims, The Lost Colony

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... period 11 May – 3 June at Brooklyn, New York, departing the latter date with Croatan to search for submarines ... In the months that followed USS Huse continued to operate with the Croatan hunter-killer group that had much to do with keeping open the important supply ... In addition, Huse rescued downed pilots from Croatan's air group on three separate occasions ...
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... Two ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Croatan, after the Croatan Sound of the North Carolina coast ... The USS Croatan (CVE-14), was an escort aircraft carrier loaned to the United Kingdom and operated as the HMS Fencer from February 1943 to 1946 ... The USS Croatan (CVE-25), was also an escort aircraft carrier, commissioned August 1943 and placed out of service in 1946, but operated by a civilian crew for some years thereafter ...
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