SIR WALTER RALEIGH
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1552 [or 1554] – 29 October 1618) was a privateer, known by the Spanish as a Sea Dogs. They were pirates between 1560 and 1605. During this time they had explicit permission from Queen Elizabeth, known as a Letter of Marque, which allowed privateers to engage in acts of piracy against the Spanish and other colonial powers the English were at war with at the time.
Raleigh, also spelled Ralegh, was an English landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy and explorer. He was a cousin of Sir Richard Grenville and younger half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England. Raleigh was one of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era.
He rose rapidly in the favour of
Queen Elizabeth I and was knighted in 1585. Raleigh was instrumental in the English colonisation of North America and was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, paving the way for future English settlements. In 1591, he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, without the Queen's permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of
London, fortunately, not to be beheaded. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne,
Dorset, intact, for a time.
In 1616, he was released to lead a second expedition in search of El Dorado. During the expedition, men led by his top commander ransacked a Spanish outpost, in violation of both the terms of his pardon and the 1604 peace treaty with Spain. Raleigh returned to England and, to appease the Spanish, he was arrested and executed in 1618. His luck had run out.
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