Attempts At Colonization
Raleigh and the attempted colonization of Virginia.—England's struggle with Spain for empire did not end with an attack on her fleets and her colonies. Men soon arose who dared to dispute Spain's monopoly by planting colonies in the lands claimed by His Catholic Majesty. The leader in the enterprise was Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1584 he received a patent similar to that of Gilbert. Two vessels were soon despatched under Amadas and Barlowe. They followed the southern route by the Canaries and the West Indies, and finally landed on Roanoke Island, taking possession of that region, which was named Virginia in honor of Elizabeth, a name which was soon applied to the country from the Spanish settlements to Newfoundland. In April of the following year Grenville commanded a second expedition which took out the first colonists, who made a settlement on Roanoke Island. In 1586 supply ships were sent out, but they found the settlement deserted. Wearied by the hard winter, the settlers had accepted an offer from Sir Francis Drake, who had been raiding in the Caribbean, to carry them back to England.
In 1587 another group of colonists including almost a hundred men, seventeen women, and several children, was sent out under Governor John White and landed at Roanoke. White returned to England, but owing to the naval war with Spain and other difficulties he was unable to go to Virginia again until 1591, when he found only deserted ruins. News of the English intrusion caused alarm on the Spanish frontier, and the governor of Florida in person led a counter expedition up the coast as far as Chesapeake Bay. To this day the fate of the Roanoke colony is a mystery, but light on the matter may yet be shed by the Spanish archives.
Raleigh's Orinoco expedition.—The discoveries of the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru spurred the Englishman to attempt to find similar lands of treasure. A story became current that in the interior of South America on the upper waters of the Amazon and the Orinoco was a great kingdom, which contained a powerful city called Manoa. It was also believed that in the interior there was a mountain of sapphire and a land ruled by female warriors called Amazons. After the failure of the Roanoke enterprise, Raleigh became interested in this land of wonders, and in 1594 sent a vessel to the Guiana coast to obtain information. The following year Raleigh himself made an exploration of the delta of the Orinoco and ascended the main stream a considerable distance. But the city of Manoa proved elusive, supplies ran short, and the expedition returned to England.
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