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1618: Walter Raleigh Executed

1618: Walter Raleigh Executed
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Execution_of_Sir_Walter_Raleigh.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event:
  • When he was shown the ax with which he was to be beheaded, he reportedly said: “This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries". His last words allegedly were: “Strike, man, strike!”.

The well-known English explorer and aristocrat, Sir Walter Raleigh, was executed on this day. He was one of the most famous people at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and is known for leading the first English voyages of discovery in the Americas. This eventually led to the creation of the United States of America.

Sir Walter Raleigh tried to establish the first English colony on what is now the territory of the USA. He called it Virginia, allegedly in honor of Elizabeth I, who was called the “Virgin Queen” because she never married. The modern U.S. state of Virginia therefore owes its name to Sir Walter Raleigh.

The first colony he founded was located on the island of Roanoke on the North American coast. However, when Raleigh went back to England in order to pick up new colonists, a mysterious incident took place, which has remained unexplained to this day. Namely, the Roanoke colonists simply disappeared. When Raleigh returned there, he found the colony deserted, as well as a mysterious inscription on a nearby tree, which read “CROATOAN”. This remains one of the greatest mysteries in U.S. history.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh found himself in disfavor with King James I, who was of Scottish descent. Namely, at one point Raleigh plundered and razed a Spanish village on the territory of modern Venezuela. The Spanish ambassador – the powerful Count Gondomar – then demanded that the English king execute Raleigh for this deed. The king agreed to this, because he feared that doing otherwise could cause a war with Spain.

 

Sir Walter Raleigh was taken to the execution site on this day. When he was shown the ax with which he was to be beheaded, he reportedly said: “This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries”. His last words allegedly were: “Strike, man, strike!”.

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