Richard Grenville


Sir Richard Grenville (1542-1591 CE) was an Elizabethan adventurer, mariner, and privateer whose life story is as entertaining as any fictional sailor. His early career saw him become a Member of Parliament, a soldier in Hungary, and a plantation owner in Ireland. Grenville took the first English colonists to North America in 1585 CE, battled the Spanish Armada in 1588 CE, and then famously fought the Spanish again in 1591 CE, this time in his ship the Revenge in the Azores. The Revenge, fighting alone against a fleet of 56 Spanish ships, sank two of the enemy vessels and damaged many others but eventually succumbed, and Grenville died of his wounds. The episode became the stuff of legend and was celebrated in art, literature, and sea lore for centuries thereafter.

More about: Richard Grenville


  • 1542 - 1591
    Life of the Elizabethan adventurer, mariner and privateer Sir Richard Grenville.
  • 1562
    Richard Grenville is pardoned after killing a man during a riot.
  • 1563
    Richard Grenville serves as a Member of Parliament.
  • 1568
    Richard Grenville creates a plantation in the Munster region of Ireland.
  • 1571
    Richard Grenville represents Cornwall as a Member of Parliament.
  • 1571
    Richard Grenville fails to win royal approval for his proposed expedition to find the great southern continent.
  • Apr 1585 - Jul 1585
    Settlers sail to Virginia in North America to create England's first colony on Roanoke Island.
  • Jul 1588 - Aug 1588
    Richard Grenville fights against the Spanish Armada.
  • 1591
    Richard Grenville sails as vice-admiral to Lord Thomas Howard in an expedition to plunder Spanish treasure ships in the Azores.
  • 9 Sep 1591 - 10 Sep 1591
    Richard Grenville commands the galleon Revenge in a heroic but losing battle against a large Spanish fleet in the Azores.