Raleigh and the British Empire

By David B. Quinn | Go to book overview

Chapter Eight
Guiana Gamble

IN his Discoverie of Guiana Raleigh set out the prospect of the discovery of a golden, civilized empire in the Guiana highlands and of the establishment of an English tropical empire over an immense native population. Neither of these attracted nor convinced many Englishmen, yet Raleigh did lead some to push on with the exploitation of the coastlands between the Amazon and the Orinoco. His Discoverie provided an attractive account of conditions in this region. The popularization of tobacco in England -- in which Raleigh assisted -- led traders to look for exploitable sources of it. The English attempts to establish small trading and plantation settlements in the Guiana lowlands largely derived from these incentives.

In prison, during the long years from 1603 to 1616, Guiana was for Raleigh a mirage in which he saw a means to pull himself out of misery and disgrace and back to wealth and influence. His repeated attempts to urge the King to let him try to rehabilitate his reputation and fortune in South America sustained him, kept him

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Raleigh and the British Empire
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • A General Introduction to the Series v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations x
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter One - Beginnings 1
  • Chapter Two - New Worlds 12
  • Chapter Three - The English Approach to America 47
  • Chapter Four - Lost Colonies 97
  • Chapter Five - An Irish Plantation 129
  • Chapter Six - The Beautiful Empire 162
  • Chapter Seven - The Refounding of Virginia 209
  • Chapter Eight - Guiana Gamble 240
  • Note on Further Reading 272
  • Index 273
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