SIR WALTER RALEIGH DID WHAT?!
By Nancy Lee Badger
Looking back, it seems that every article I have written for History Undressed has had a Scottish theme. Even before I sold my first historical paranormal, DRAGON’S CURSE, set on a Scottish island, I have loved everything about Scottish culture. But, I discovered historical society of a different sort, here in my adopted town of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Those who know me know the story. I ‘retired’ from public service at New Hampshire 9-1-1 and moved away from the snow and ice to a southern climate where I now write fulltime. My husband and I had visited Raleigh several times. Both of my sisters had moved here and it occurred to me that something had changed since our first visit.
The new Raleigh Convention Center is the diamond in the downtown’s revitalization plans. My sister and I drove into the city so she could register for a veterinary workshop. While driving by the front entrance, in search of a parking spot, there it stood…a larger than life bronze statue of the city’s namesake, Sir Walter Raleigh.
Then I thought about the reason why his statue graced the newest building in downtown Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. I dug around and came up with some interesting facts. Many tidbits of information confused me. I always thought of him as a larger-than-life hero for Queen Elizabeth. He was an English aristocrat, poet, writer, and explorer. The man has been romanticized in TV and movies. Did you see Simon Jones when he played Raleigh on the BBC sitcom Blackadder II in 1986? What about Clive Owen’s portrayal in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a 2007 film? Unfortunately, his life was also full of wrong turns.
Born in England in 1552, he had a hand in suppressing rebellions and participated in a massacre in Ireland. Strike one.
He was put in charge of the first colonization of the “Colony and dominion of Virginia”. Settlers landed on Roanoke Island, an area that includes present day Virginia and North Carolina. This ended poorly when all the colonists disappeared off the face of the earth. To this day, they are remembered as The Lost Colony. Strike two.
Sir Walter was well known for popularizing tobacco in England. Strike three.
He secretly married one of Queen Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, a big no-no, which earned him a stay in the tower of London. Strike four.
After the Queen’s death, he stood accused of participating in a plot against King James I. This ended in a lengthy stay in the bloody tower. Strike five.
When finally freed, he made two attempts to discover South America’s “City of Gold”, better known as El Dorado. Having no luck, his men ransacked a Spanish outpost. When he returned to England, he was arrested and beheaded in 1618. Yer out!
Thanks for the advice, Walter. I have!
DRAGON’S CURSE is available from Whispers Publishing
Buy link: http://whispershome.com/erotic/romance/dragons-curse/