Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554 – 1618) was the imaginative force behind the Roanoke colonies. His meteoric rise to favor in the court of Queen Elizabeth was dazzling. Sustained by his service as explorer, soldier, seaman, and by his gifts as a writer, Raleigh’s position brought him vast estates, influence, and knighthood. However, Raleigh’s star faded following his unapproved marriage to Lady Elizabeth Throckmorton. By 1618, after a long stay in the Tower of London, he was executed for allegedly plotting to dethrone Queen Elizabeth’s successor, James I.
For more detailed information on Sir Walter Raleigh and his attempts to colonize the New World, read the Sir Walter Ralegh (how Sir Walter spelled his own name) section. The same information about Ralegh can be viewed in the context of the park's curriculum materials, Roanoke Revisited.
Did You Know?
Roanoke Island became a safe haven of Freedom for escaped slaves when the Union seized the island during the Civil War. As a result, the first and largest Freedmen's Colony in North Carolina was established to prepare these African Americans for a new life after the war. More...