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1599 In West Indien [Sir Walter Raleigh in Guiana]
Estimated value: $500 - $800
A superb example of Theodore De Bry's depiction of Sir Walter Raleigh attempting to establish friendship with King Arromaia of Guiana. This example comes from the 1st German edition of Americae, PARS VIII, published out of Frankfurt in 1599, one year after De Bry's death.
Sir Walter Raleigh Scott is arguably one of the most famous English explorers that ever lived. He was also a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, who during her reign, both knighted him, rewarded him handsomely as well as held him a prisoner of the Tower of London on three separate occasions. In 1584, 1585 and 1587 Raleigh organized voyages to North America that led to his sponsorship of an English colony on Roanoke Island (now north Carolina), which he named ‘Virginna’ after his adored Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I.
In Search of the Golden City of El Dorado
Upon release from his second stint as a prisoner of the London Tower, Raleigh set off in 1595 (during the Anglo-Spanish War) to Guinea in South America in search of the mythical golden land of El Dorado. His success would undoubtedly win him fortune, fame, and the Queen devout affection that kept him a member of high society.
After capturing the Spanish settlement of San José de Oruña on the colony of Trinidad, Raleigh and the English held the place and used it as a base for their exploration. Raleigh would successfully navigate the river and inlets, penetrating some 400 miles into the Guiana highlands. While no gold or lost city was ever found, Raleigh returned to England exaggerating his account. The result of the expedition was an important alliance with the natives of the region that would have a lasting impact on future colonization of the area.
Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh Scott
Sir Walter Raleigh Scott would eventually be beheaded on October 29, 1618, fifteen years after being convicted (which many argue falsely) of treason as he was implicated in a plot to overthrow the newly crowned King James I. The new king was attempting a diplomatic rapprochement with Spain, England’s longstanding enemy, against whom Raleigh had been a formidable foe. According to biographers, Raleigh's last words, spoken to the hesitating executioner, were: "What dost thou fear? Strike, man, strike!
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