external image 11.jpgSir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583) was an English nobleman, army officer, member of Parliament, and explorer.

Gilbert is said to have believed that America was the lost continent of Atlantis (a legendary but fictional continent that is said to have sunk* in ancient times). He was determined to find a sea route through the northern waters of North America. On September 23, 1578, he sailed from England, but was attacked by Spaniards* and returned to England.

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He successfully sailed again on June 11, 1583, with 5 ships. One ship had to return because of leaks*, but the others eventually made it to North America. He landed in Newfoundland on July 30, 1583, and then sailed to St. John's. Gilbert claimed* the area for Queen Elizabeth I of England, and started a settlement. It became the first English settlement* in the Americas.

After two weeks in his new colony, Gilbert left his colony to explore the area around Nova Scotia. He died on this expedition when his boat, the "Squirrel," sank near the Azore Islands on September 9, 1583 (he was returning to England).

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Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) was a British explorer, poet, historian, and soldier. Raleigh led expeditions to both North America and South America; he was trying to find new settlements, find gold, and increase trade with the New World.

In 1585, Raleigh sent colonists to the east coast of North America; Raleigh later named that area Virginia, in honour of Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen.