Gilbert, Humphrey

Article

August 11, 2022

Humphrey Gilbert (also Humphrey Gilbert; August 5, 1539 - September 9, 1583) was an English military officer and navigator, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh and cousin of Sir Richard Grenville.

Biography

Born August 5, 1539 in Devonshire. Studied navigation and military science at Oxford. Entered the army and was wounded at the siege of Le Havre (1563). In 1566 he proposed an expedition to find a passage between England and the Far East. Queen Elizabeth I of England rejected this offer and instead sent Gilbert to Ireland, where he brutally crushed the rebellion (1567-1570) and began to develop a plan for the Protestant colonization of the province of Munster in southern Ireland. For this activity he was knighted in 1570 at the age of 31. In 1572 he commanded 1,500 English volunteers sent to take part in the resistance of the Netherlands against Spain. By the middle of 1570, Gilbert began to apply his Irish experience of colonization to North America. In 1577 he put forward a plan for Newfoundland to seize the fishing fleets of Spain, Portugal and France; the occupation of Santo Domingo and Cuba, as well as the interception of ships carrying American silver to Spain. Elizabeth I ignored his proposal. In 1578, Gilbert was given the task of founding a colony in the New World. The expedition of 1578-1579 was not successful, because due to stormy weather, the ships had to return to England. To finance a new expedition, Gilbert, with the assistance of his half-brother Walter Raleigh, began selling the lands of the defunct colony. Raleigh also provided a ship and helped in obtaining permission from Elizabeth I. With five ships, carrying 260 people, Gilbert left Plymouth on June 11, 1583, and on August 3 approached Newfoundland, where he founded the small colony of St. John's on August 5. In a flotilla of three ships, Gilbert made an attempt to survey the coast south of St. John's. During this journey, the largest ship was lost, and with the remaining two, he decided to return to England. Gilbert himself sailed on a smaller ship, the Squirrel, with a displacement of only 10 tons. September 9, 1583, standing on the deck of his sinking ship, Gilbert said his famous