Raleigh and the British Empire

Raleigh and the British Empire

Raleigh and the British Empire

Raleigh and the British Empire

Excerpt

The greatest theme of modern history is the impact of the western European peoples on the world overseas and the effects which imperialism had on their own society. In all the aspects of this movement, even though a latecomer to colonial enterprise, Britain played an outstanding part, whether in commerce, colonization, the exploitation of overseas peoples or in the exchange of ideas. Each phase of her imperial activity was the result of social and economic changes inside the British Isles, and was the work of very many men striving for power and profits, while transforming the ways of living of non-Europeans in the process. To ascribe to any individual too large a share in empire-building would be misleading. Imperialism is always an expression of social forces and not, primarily, of individual initiative. It is, therefore, as a representative figure, an originating rather than a dominating one, that Sir Walter Raleigh should be regarded in the history of the beginnings of British overseas enterprise.

Sir Walter Raleigh has always attracted biographers. His complex, many-sided character and interests, and the many points at which he . . .

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