Online Encyclopedia

SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT (c. 1539-1583)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 8 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT (c. 1539-1583), English soldier, navigator and pioneer colonist in America, was the second son of Otho Gilbert, of Compton, near Dartmouth, Devon, and step-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. He was educated at Eton and Oxford; intended for the law; introduced at court by Raleigh's aunt, Catherine Ashley, and appointed (July 1566) captain in the army of Ireland under Sir Henry Sidney. In April 1566 he had already joined with Antony Jenkinson in a petition to Elizabeth for the discovery of the North-East Passage; in November following he presented an independent petition for the " discovering of a passage by the north to go to Cataia." In October 1569 he became governor of Munster; on the 1st of January 1570 he was knighted; in 1571 he was returned M.P. for Plymouth; in 1572 he campaigned in the Netherlands against Spain without much success; from 1573 to 1578 he lived in retirement at Limehouse, devoting himself especially to the advocacy of a North-West Passage (his famous Discourse on this subject was published in 1576). Gilbert's arguments, widely circulated even before 1575, were apparently of weight in promoting the Frobisher enterprises of 1576–1578. On the 11th of June 1578, Sir Humphrey obtained his long-coveted charter for North-Western discovery and colonization, authorizing him, his heirs and assigns, to discover, occupy and possess such remote " heathen lands not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people, as should seem good to him or them." Disposing not only of his patrimony but also of the estates in Kent which he had through his wife, daughter of John Aucher of 011erden, he fitted out an expedition which left Dartmouth on the 23rd of September 1578, and returned in May 1579, having accomplished nothing. In 1579 Gilbert aided the government in Ireland; and in 1583, after many struggles—illustrated by his appeal to Walsingham on the 11th of July 1582, for the payment of moneys due to him from government, and by his agreement with the Southampton venturers—he succeeded in equipping another fleet for " Western Planting." On the 11th of June 1583, he sailed from Plymouth with five ships and the queen's blessing; on the 13th of July the " Ark Raleigh," built and manned at his brother's expense, deserted
End of Article: SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT (c. 1539-1583)
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Huphrey gilbert was a pioneer and a colonist of North America
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