Walter Raleigh


Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1552-1618 CE) was an English courtier, soldier, mariner, explorer, and historian. A one-time favourite of his queen, Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE), Raleigh organised three expeditions to form a colony on the coast of North America in the 1580s CE. The colony was abandoned but the expeditions were notable for introducing tobacco and the potato to England. Unsuccessful at colonisation and falling out with his queen when he married one of her ladies-in-waiting, Raleigh turned instead to finding El Dorado, the fabled golden city of South America. Once more, success was elusive. Back in England, the adventurer was accused of treason by King James I of England (r. 1603-1625 CE) and imprisoned in the Tower of London for 13 years. Writing poetry and an important work of history, the beached mariner was improbably freed in 1616 CE to explore one last time South America. This final expedition was another failure and led once again to imprisonment. Raleigh was executed in the Tower in 1618 CE.

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