A Book Review Big Chief Elizabeth by Giles Milton

An account of English settlers in North America

A Book Review Big Chief Elizabeth by Giles Milton
Image Source - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WalterRaleigh2.jpg
A modern study of the early efforts of settlers from England to set their colonies across the Atlantic. The Elizabethans were keen to build their own empire.

Studying early English empire building

This book is tellingly subtitled How England's adventurers gambled and won the New World. England had been slow to join the race for overseas empire. Yet the riches that the Portuguese and the Spanish were gaining from their colonies provided the incentives for the English to try it for themselves. The conflict with Spain and the slow expansion of English naval power meant that there was more scope for setting up colonies. 

A detailed study

Giles Milton in this masterly book tell the story of the Elizabethan settlers that left England in order to establish colonies in North America. Their wealthy backers in particular Sir Walter Raleigh were hoping that the expeditions would make them richer, and more famous than they already were. They also planned to attack the Spanish from new bases.

Although that did not happen in the time covered by this tome the English colonies were the starting point for capturing the French colonies in Canada. 

Making use of journals


Fortunately for Giles Milton and anybody else that wishes to write on this specific subject Sir Walter Raleigh requested that all the literate colonists should keep journals or make sketches in order to keep a record of everything that happened to them. Access to the remaining journals certainly helped Milton give a realistic account of what  to the colonists and the successor failure of their efforts.

Milton provides us with a highly readable history of the English colonists and their successes including the founding of Jamestown as well as the mystery of the handful of settlers that vanished from Roanoke Island. 

This tome is thus well worth reading for anyone who wants an insight into the first English settlers in what later became the United States. It was under the Stuarts that the English empire started it's eventual journey  to been the greatest ever seen. 


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