Sir Walter Raleigh

(1552-1618)


Sir Walter Raleigh was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite courtiers. He was a soldier, a sailor and writer. He wrote many poems praising the Queen.

He asked the Queen if he could sail to ‘the New World’ to build new trading posts called colonies. The Queen did not allow him to go, but let his sailors take families to live in the ‘New World’. These families were called colonists.

Sir Walter Raleigh sent his first colonists to North America to began a settlement called Virginia, named after Elizabeth I, the virgin queen. His sailors brought back potatoes and tobacco, which England had never seen before.

The colonists in Virginia did not settle in their new home. Instead of planting crops they spent a lot of their time searching for gold and silver. Soon they did not have enough food to eat. After only a year they returned to England.

In 1587 Raleigh sent more colonists to North America. Three years later and English ship went to visit the colony. They found empty huts, but no people. No one knows what happened to them.