Sir Walter Raleigh is executed on his return to England

(115 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

Sir Walter Raleigh, who has returned to England from his expedition to Guiana, is beheaded at Whithall. When he was released from the Tower of London to undertake an expedition in search of gold, James I promised to the Spanish ambassador, Count Gondomar, that if he was found to have attacked any Spanish possessions on his voyage, Raleigh would become liable to the sentence passed on him in 1603. While he was in Guiana his men attacked the Spanish settlement of San Tome on the Orinoco river, and as a result Gondomar insisted on his execution. He had been a popular national hero in his Elizabethan heyday, and there was a widespread outcry at his death.
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Editors. "Sir Walter Raleigh is executed on his return to England". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 February 2011
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]