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American History
1.20 Sir Walter Raleigh

Although John Cabot discovered the continent of North America in 1497 and took possession of the land for the English, yet the English themselves did not try to settle here until nearly a hundred years later.

Then in 1584 a young man named Walter Raleigh, who was a great favorite of Queen Elizabeth's, sent out two ships to America. The captains of these vessels landed on Roanoke Island, on the coast of what is now the state of North Carolina. They found the island covered with tall red cedars and with vines thick with clusters of wild grapes. The Indians called this place the "Good Land." They were pleased to see the Englishmen, and they invited them to a great feast of roast turkey, venison, melons, and nuts.

When the two captains returned to England, Queen Elizabeth—the "Virgin Queen," as she was called—was delighted with what she heard of the "Good Land." She named it Virginia in honor of herself. She also gave Raleigh a title of honor. From that time he was no longer called plain Walter Raleigh or Mr. Raleigh, but Sir Walter Raleigh.

Sir Walter now (1585) shipped over immigrants to settle in Virginia. They sent back to him as a present two famous American plants—one called Tobacco, the other the Potato. The queen had given Sir Walter a fine estate in Ireland, and he set out both the plants in his garden. The tobacco plant did not grow very well there, but the potato did; and after a time thousands of farmers began to raise that vegetable, not only in Ireland, but in England too. As far back then as that time—or more than three hundred years ago—America was beginning to feed the people of the Old World. Sir Walter spent immense sums of money on his settlement in Virginia, but it did not succeed. One of the settlers, named Dare, had a daughter born there. He named her Virginia Dare. She was the first English child born in America. But the little girl, with her father and mother and all the rest of the settlers, disappeared. It is supposed that they were either killed by the Indians or that they wandered away and starved to death; but all that we really know is that not one of them was ever seen again.

After Queen Elizabeth died, King James the First became ruler of England. He accused Sir Walter of trying to take away his crown so as to make some one else ruler over the country. Sir Walter was sent to prison and kept there for many years. At last King James released him in order to send him to South America to get gold. When Sir Walter returned to London without any gold, the greedy king accused him of having disobeyed him because he had fought with some Spaniards. Raleigh was condemned to death and beheaded.

But Sir Walter's attempt to settle Virginia led other Englishmen to try. Before he died they built a town, called Jamestown, on the coast. The English held Virginia from that time until it became part of the United States.

Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:
  1. How would you describe Queen Elizabeth?
  2. How would you describe King James the First? How was he different from the queen?

Q 1: What is venison?
bear meat
deer meat

Q 2: What is an immigrant?
a person who leaves one country to settle into another
a person who travels around the world
a person who never leaves their country

Q 3: Who was the first child born in Virginia?
Virginia Elizabeth
Virginia Raleigh
Virginia Dare

Q 4: What happened to Sir Walter Raleigh?
the queen killed him
he lived to be an old man
the king killed him

Question 5: This question is available to subscribers only!

Question 6: This question is available to subscribers only!

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