Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Sir Walter Raleigh

Picture of Sir Walter Raleigh

Picture of Sir Walter Raleigh

Short Biography of the life of Sir Walter Raleigh - Explorer, Poet, Privateer and Courtier
The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Sir Walter Raleigh:

  • Nationality - English
  • Lifespan - 1552 - 1618

  • Family - Father was a farmer, his half brother explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He was also related to Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake
  • Education - Oriel College, Oxford
  • Career - Poet, Courtier, Privateer and Explorer
  • Famous for : The  Discovery of Guiana and establishing the Virginia colony of Roanoke Island in 1584
  • Chivalry - He is reputed to have placed his cloak over a puddle in order to prevent Queen Elizabeth I from muddying her shoes

Facts, Biography, Timeline & History about the life of Sir Walter Raleigh - Explorer, Poet and Courtier
The following are additional biography facts with a timeline about the life and history of Sir Walter Raleigh:

  • 1554 Sir Walter Raleigh was born in Hayes Barton in Devonshire
  • Part of a leading Protestant family
  • Sir Walter Raleigh hated the Catholic Church
  • Distant relative of Francis Drake
  • On August 24 1572 Raleigh witnessed the St Bartholomew's Day massacre where French Protestants were massacred by French Catholics in Paris
  • A member of the Middle Temple in 1575
  • He was nearly 6 foot tall
  • In 1578 Sir Walter Raleigh sails with his half brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, to America
  • Raleigh captains 'The Falcon'
  • Raleigh has an illegitimate daughter by a local woman called Alice Goold
  • In 1580 Raleigh helps to put down the Irish rebellion, is knighted and becomes a favourite of Queen Elizabeth. He becomes extremely wealthy
  • Sir Walter Raleigh spoke with a soft Devonshire accent
  • He was noted for his courtly manners and was reputed to have placed his cloak over a puddle in order to prevent Queen Elizabeth I from muddying her shoes. This is not confirmed however a cloak was included in his coat of arms
  • Sir Walter Raleigh was a true man of the renaissance and a brilliant poet
  • He founded the secret society called "The School of Night" which was attended by fellow highly prominent Elizabethans - new beliefs were discussed and it is closely related to the mysterious Rosicrucian movement
  • March 25, 1584 - Walter Raleigh receives the patent to explore and settle in North America
  • 1584: Sir Walter Raleigh's fleet of seven vessels under Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane, with 108 men, reach Roanoke Island in June.
  • 1584 June 4, Virginia colony of Roanoke Island established by Sir Walter Raleigh.
  • 1585 January 6: Queen Elizabeth knights Walter Raleigh and makes him governor of the new territory discovered by Amadas and Barlowe. Raleigh names it "Virginia" in her honor.
  • 1586 - The Babington Plot - Sir Francis Walsingham and Sir Walter Raleigh discover plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots (called the Babington Plot)
  • July 22, 1587 - Sir Walter Raleigh backs the first English Colony in North America (North Carolina) led by John White to the English Roanoke Colony
  • 1587 August 18, Virginia Dare born in Roanoke colony , the first English child born in North America 
  • 1588 Raleigh donated "Ark Royal" to the English navy which was chosen to lead the English fleet against the Armada. Sir Walter Raleigh & Sir Richard Grenville were responsible for the joint defence of Devon and Cornwall against the expected Spanish Armada. The land-based soldiers did not have the opportunity to fight the Spanish.
  • 1589: Sir Walter Raleigh & Sir Richard Grenville guard the sea approaches to Ireland 
  • 1592 Raleigh falls out of favour with Elizabeth when she discovers that he has married one of her maids called Bessie Throckmorton
  • The Queen ordered that Sir Walter Raleigh is placed in the Tower of London but he was released when one of his ships brought back a huge treasure on the captured Spanish ship "Madre De Dios"
  • 6 February 1595 - Sir Walter Raleigh leaves England to sail to the New World to search for the city of El Dorado (the city of gold)
  • 1595 Sir Walter Raleigh explores the Orinoco
  • 24 March 1603 - Queen Elizabeth I dies and is succeeded by King James, the son of Mary Queen of Scots
  • 1603 King James, eager to make peace with the Spanish, imprisons Sir Walter Raleigh in the Tower of London on charges of treason
  • In 1612 King James releases Raleigh, who promises to give King James a fortune if he allows him to return to Guiana
  • In 1616 Raleigh travels to Guiana but his mission fails and he attacks a Spanish settlement
  • 1618 Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for attacking the Spanish
The Age of Exploration
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