Of Raleigh And The First Plantation

The Elizabethans and America: Part II -- The fate of the Virginia Colony rested on the endurance of adventurers, the financing of London merchants, and the favor of a courtier with his demanding spinster Queen.

In the marvelous 1580s everything was beginning to ripen together in the heat of the tension between England and Spain. Poetry and the drama that had been so sparse and backward were coming to a head with Sidney and Spenser and Marlowe; the first Elizabethan madrigals appear in the very year the war against Spain begins. And this is the moment when the idea of American colonization takes shape and wing—or, perhaps I should say, takes sail.

Drake’s “Plate Of Brass”

In the summer of 1936 a young man named Beryle W. Shinn was picnicking on a hillside near San Quentin, California, on the north shore of San Francisco Bay, when he found a metal plate approximately five inches wide by eight inches long. Thinking it might serve to cover a hole in the floor of his automobile, he picked it up and kept it, and only later did he notice that one side was covered with writing. Dr. Herbert E. Bolton of the University of California, to whom Shinn took the plate, then deciphered the inscription: Read more »

The Elizabethans And America

“To push back the consciousness of American beginnings, beyond Jamestown, beyond the Pilgrims, to the highwater mark of the Elizabethan Age” -- Part One of a New Series.

With this account of the Great Queen and her captains and their struggle to master a great prize—the New World—we commence a series of articles specially prepared for AMERICAN HERITAGE by A. L. Rowse, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and author of many distinguished books, among them The England of Elizabeth. The series is based on Dr. Rowse’s recent George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures, given at Cambridge University and named for the dean of British historians.Read more »

The "Delicious" Land

America acted deeply on the Elizabethan English imagination, working its magic in the minds of poets and men of science

During the reign of Elizabeth I, as the interest in and knowledge of America gathered momentum, so their reverberation in literature and the arts became louder, more frequent, and more varied.Read more »