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The Secotan formed part of the group known as
the Carolina Algonquians. They spoke the now-extinct Carolina
Algonquian dialect, and inhabited the Albermarle and Pamlico
sounds in the 1580s.
Contemporaneous with the Lost Colony of
Roanoke (see sidebar links), they were made up of the following
- Secotan Proper
Their traditional enemies were the Iroquoian-speaking
It has been suggested that the Secotan later merged
with the Machapunga, or were adopted by them. John Swanton writes that
the name 'Secotan' may have been a village name within the Machapunga,
which appears to concur with the putative connection.
One occasionally comes across the name 'Secotaooc',
the '-ooc' suffix referring to shellfish and a large expanse of water,
the suggestion being that this is merely a variation, as indeed is
'Secotaoc'. However, C Wingate Reed in Beaufort Country: Two Centuries
of Its History (1962) is of the opinion that 'Secotan' and 'Secotaoc'
being two distinct towns.
The Powhatan confederacy (the pale orange area) was formed of
a large number of Algonquian-speaking tribes, but others (yellow)
remained independent (click on map to view full sized)