A Brief History
On January 25, 1585, Walter Raleigh, an English explorer and adventurer, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I of England, perhaps because he named a region of North America “Virginia” in honor of the Virgin Queen.
Helping to suppress Irish rebellion, defending England against the Spanish Armada, and being a key figure in the colonization of North America, Raleigh became somewhat of a celebrity of his time, although he also had some problems along the way.
Plunked into jail for marrying without the Queen’s permission, Raleigh was released and chased after the mythical city of gold, El Dorado. After Elizabeth died, he once again went to prison for conspiring against King James I, but again was released to pursue El Dorado. After illegally attacking and looting a Spanish outpost, Raleigh was executed by the English to mollify Spain.
Raleigh not only named Virginia but is also the namesake of the capital of North Carolina. A key proponent of tobacco use, a tobacco brand is named after him!
Question for students (and subscribers): Does Raleigh deserve his spot on the list of 100 Greatest Britons?Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Creel, George. The Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh. Forgotten Books, 2012.
Morris, R.N. Fortune’s Hand: The Triumph and Tragedy of Walter Raleigh. Sharpe Books, 2020.
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