Gilbert, Sir Humphrey

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey
born с 1539
died September 1583, at sea near the Azores

English soldier and navigator.

The half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, he proposed in his Discourse (1566) a voyage in search of the Northwest Passage. Queen Elizabeth I rejected the idea and sent him to Ireland (1567–70), where he ruthlessly suppressed an uprising, for which he was knighted. In 1578 he set out with seven ships, intending to colonize North America, but through his poor leadership some ships returned to England and others turned to piracy. He sailed again in 1583, this time arriving in Newfoundland, which he claimed in the name of the queen.

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▪ British explorer
born c. 1539
died September 1583, at sea near the Azores

      English soldier and navigator who devised daring and farseeing projects of overseas colonization. Although he was brilliant and creative, his poor leadership was responsible for his failure to establish the first permanent English colony in North America. He succeeded, however, in annexing Newfoundland.

      The half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh and a cousin of Sir Richard Grenville, Gilbert studied navigation and military science at Oxford, entered the army, and was wounded at the siege of Le Havre (1563). In 1566 he wrote a Discourse proposing a voyage in search of a Northwest Passage between England and the Far East. But Queen Elizabeth I rejected the idea and instead sent Gilbert to Ireland (1567–70), where he ruthlessly suppressed an uprising and began to elaborate plans for a Protestant colonization of the province of Munster, in southern Ireland. He was knighted for this action in 1570. In 1572 he commanded the 1,500 English volunteers sent to assist the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain.

      By the mid-1570s Gilbert began to apply his Irish colonization schemes to North America. In 1577 he put forth a plan for seizing the Newfoundland fishing fleets of Spain, Portugal, and France; occupying Santo Domingo and Cuba; and intercepting the ships carrying American silver to Spain. The queen ignored his proposal but in 1578 granted him a six-year charter to settle “heathen lands not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people.”

      Straining his means to the utmost, Gilbert finally outfitted a seven-ship expedition and set sail on Nov. 19, 1578. He probably intended to cross to North America, but his ill-equipped, badly disciplined force quickly broke up, and by the spring of 1579 some of the ships had drifted to England while others had turned to piracy. During the summer of 1579 Gilbert helped put down the rebellion of James Fitzgerald (called Fitzmaurice) in Ireland.

      Gilbert then set about organizing a more ambitious colonizing expedition. He sailed from Plymouth on June 11, 1583, and on August 3 arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland, which he claimed in the name of the queen. Moving southward with three ships, he lost the largest of them on August 29 and two days later turned homeward. He was last seen during a great storm in the Atlantic, shouting to his companion vessel, “We are as near heaven by sea as by land.” Gilbert's ship was then swallowed by the sea.

Additional Reading
Gilbert's career is recounted in D.B. Quinn, Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 2 vol. (1940, reprinted in 1 vol., 1967).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Gilbert,Sir Humphrey — Gilbert, Sir Humphrey. 1539? 1583. English navigator who urged exploration for the Northwest Passage, established in Newfoundland (1583) the first English colony in North America, and was lost at sea during a homeward voyage. * * * …   Universalium

  • Gilbert, Sir Humphrey — ( 1539–sep. 1583, en el mar, cerca de las Azores). Soldado y navegante inglés. Medio hermano de Sir Walter Raleigh, propuso en su Discourse (1566) un viaje en búsqueda del paso del Noroeste. La reina Isabel I rechazó la idea y lo envió a Irlanda… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • GILBERT, SIR HUMPHREY —    navigator, born in Devonshire, half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh; in 1583 established a settlement in Newfoundland …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Sir Humphrey de Trafford, 2nd Baronet — Sir Humphrey de Trafford, 2nd Baronet, (1 May 1808 ndash; 4 May 1886) was a prominent English Roman Catholic. Born at Croston Hall near Chorley, Lancashire on 1 May 1808, he was the second child and the eldest son of Sir Thomas de Trafford. In… …   Wikipedia

  • Sir Humphrey Gilbert — noun English navigator who in 1583 established in Newfoundland the first English colony in North America (1539 1583) • Syn: ↑Gilbert, ↑Humphrey Gilbert • Instance Hypernyms: ↑navigator …   Useful english dictionary

  • Humphrey Gilbert — Sir Humphrey Gilbert Sir Humphrey Gilbert, ca. 1583 Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Humphrey Gilbert — Sir Humphrey Gilbert (* um 1537; † 1583) war ein englischer Abenteurer, Feldherr und Parlamentarier, der unter Elisabeth I. diente. Er war ein Halbbruder von Sir Walter Raleigh und gründete die erste englische Kolonie in Nordamerika …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Humphrey Gilbert — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gilbert. Sir Humphrey Gilbert (né dans le Devon vers 1537 disparu en mer le 9 septembre 1583) est un officier et explorateur anglais qui servit sous le règne d Élisabeth Ière[1]. Pionnier de la colonisation… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gilbert — /gil beuhrt/, n. 1. Cass, 1859 1934, U.S. architect. 2. Henry Franklin Belknap /bel nap/, 1868 1928, U.S. composer. 3. Sir Humphrey, 1537 83, English soldier, navigator, and colonizer in America. 4. John (John Pringle), 1895 1936, U.S. film actor …   Universalium

  • Gilbert — noun 1. a librettist who was a collaborator with Sir Arthur Sullivan in a famous series of comic operettas (1836 1911) • Syn: ↑William Gilbert, ↑William S. Gilbert, ↑William Schwenk Gilbert, ↑Sir William Gilbert • Derivationally related forms:… …   Useful english dictionary

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