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The Discovery of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh
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By Sir Walter Raleigh


Sir Walter Raleigh may be taken as the great typical figure of the age
of Elizabeth. Courtier and statesman, soldier and sailor, scientist
and man of letters, he engaged in almost all the main lines of public
activity in his time, and was distinguished in them all.

His father was a Devonshire gentleman of property, connected with many
of the distinguished families of the south of England. Walter was born
about 1552 and was educated at Oxford. He first saw military service
in the Huguenot army in France in 1569, and in 1578 engaged, with his
half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in the first of his expeditions
against the Spaniards. After some service in Ireland, he attracted the
attention of the Queen, and rapidly rose to the perilous position of her
chief favorite. With her approval, he fitted out two expeditions for the
colonization of Virginia, neither of which did his royal mistress permit
him to lead in person, and neither of which succeeded in establishing a
permanent settlement.

After about six years of high favor, Raleigh found his position at
court endangered by the rivalry of Essex, and in 1592, on returning
from convoying a squadron he had fitted out against the Spanish, he was
thrown into the Tower by the orders of the Queen, who had discovered an
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