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The Coming of the English

The Company had the power to appoint a Council of leaders in the colony, a Governor, and other officials. It also took the responsibility to continually provide settlers, supplies, and ships for the venture. The first settlers included artisans, craftsmen, and laborers alongside the gentlemen leaders.


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The initial public reaction to the Company was favorable, but as the mortality rate at Jamestown rose and the prospect for profit grew dim, financial support for it waned. The leadership resorted to lotteries and went so far as to attempt silkworm production at Jamestown.

The First English Settlements

Yet at the age of 54 Sir Walter Raleigh was executed for treason. What caused the downfall of this beloved Renaissance courtier?


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  • For a court favorite, Raleigh actually spent quite a bit of his life locked up in the Tower of London. Bess was already pregnant, which explained both the marriage and the secrecy.

    Sir Walter Raleigh's Colonies

    Enraged by their plotting behind her back, Elizabeth dismissed Bess and imprisoned both of them in the Tower. Much popular history, including the film , Elizabeth: The Golden Age , has tried to explain this punishment by imagining that the queen was in love with Raleigh. However, this is no evidence for this.

    Colonial Virginia

    He was convinced that El Dorado , the legendary city of gold, was to be found in northern South America, and made a reconnaissance trip to Guyana in On his return he wrote a fantastical account of it as a paradise rich for the taking, where gold could be plucked easily from the ground, and where the natives were eager to be ruled over by the English. Sir Walter Raleigh landing on the coast of Virginia.

    The real crisis for Raleigh came when he was falsely implicated in a plot to oust the new king. The allegation was that Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, was negotiating with a Dutch prince to have the Spanish give him huge sums of money to foment sedition in England.