Queen Elizabeth's Explorer: Sir Walter Ralegh

Many explorers searched the world seeking new adventures or wanting riches like gold, land, and power. This paper will be focusing on the English explorer Sir Walter Ralegh [1], whose life “was as dramatic and complex as a Shakespearian play” (Aronson, jacket). The first part will talk about Ralegh’s early life from the time of his birth to his education in Oxford. The second part will focus on his sometimes successful and sometimes unsuccessful voyages. It will also contain his relationship with Queen Elizabeth I,usually corresponding to the successfulness of his explorations.
Ralegh was born in 1554 in Devon, a county of sheepherding and farming in southwest England that borders the English channel. The Raleghs had lived in or around Devon since William of Normandy conquered England in 1066. Some of Ralegh’s ancestors were either judges, bishops, or knights who served William(Aronson, 13).
When Walter Ralegh came along, the Raleghs were neither wealthy nor titled. In fact , the family was in a low state of living. Ralegh was born in a two-story thatched farmhouse called Hayes Barton,which his father had gotten permission to use from the Duke of Otterton. Walter’s father, soon after, started his growing business and eventually owned a big piece of land(Smith, Part 1).
Walter didn’t have many advantages as he was growing up except being introduced, by his father, to important people that could help him along his way to adulthood. Having lost two wives, Walter’s father married a third time to try to recover the family’s title and fortune. Through these three marriages, Walter was linked, or related, to important families like the Drakes and the Gilberts. These families were both interested and involved in exploration.
Since the beginning, the Raleghs were devout Protestants; this first hurt them but eventually helped them. An example of their conviction is when Walter’s father complained about a local women praying with her rosary beads. Pro-Catholic...