Early Modern England and the Wider World Tom Leng

Early Modern England and
the Wider World
Tom Leng
[email protected]
Late Elizabethan/early Stuart international
ventures: the beginnings of empire?
• The ‘Armada
Portrat’, c.1588
• https://en.wiki
Francis Drake’s landing on California, engraved
by Theodore de Bry, 1590
A Victorian fantasy of the beginnings of empire: JA
Froude’s ‘England’s Forgotten Worthies’, 1852
John Everett Millais, The Boyhood of Raleigh (1871)
‘the seamen from the banks of the
Thames and the Avon, the Plym and
the Dart, self-taught and self-directed,
with no impulse but what was beating
in their own royal hearts, went out
across the unknown seas fighting,
discovering, colonizing, and graved
out the channels, and at last paved
them with their bones, through which
the commerce and enterprise of
England has flowed out all over the
The Spanish ‘Black Legend’: Bartolomé de las Casas, Brevísima relación de la
destrucción de las Indias (Seville, 1552)- Brief account of the destruction of the
Indies (engraving by Theodore de Bry)
‘But the stories of the dealings of the
Spaniards with the conquered Indians,
which were widely known in England,
seem to have affected all classes of
people, not with pious passive horror, but
with a genuine human indignation.’
‘the armed soldiers of the Reformation, and
as the avengers of humanity’ …‘high heroic
energy, as has never been overmatched; the
more remarkable, as it was the fruit of no drill
or discipline, no tradition, no system, no
organized training, but was the free native
growth of a noble virgin soil.’
‘the expansive energies of our
people in action’
Charles Andrews, The Colonial Period of American
History, 4 vols, 1912
Colonies were not looked upon as the stuff out
of which an empire was to be made, but rather
as the source of raw materials that could not be
obtained in England and were needed there
either for consumption or for manufacturing
Ireland as ‘laboratory for empire’ (David
Quinn, Nicholas Canny)
… enemies’ heads displayed ‘on the
ground by eche side of the waie ledying
into his owne tente so that none could
come into his tente for any cause but
commonly he muste passe through a
lane of heddes which he used ad