author of a book that spurred European interest
in navigation and colonization
Richard Hakluyt was probably
born in early 1552, in either Hereford or London;
the exact date and place, however, are unknown.
Both his father and mother died while he was
quite young, and he was subsequently raised by a
cousin. He was educated at the Westminster
School, where he was a queen's scholar. He then
attended Christ Church College, Oxford, from
which he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in
1574, and his Master of Arts in 1575. He was
ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in 1578,
and the church was his principal
"employer" throughout his life.
Soon after completing his
master's work Hakluyt began giving public
lectures on geography. An avid collector of
information about English voyages of discovery,
his researches led to the publication of Divers
Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and
the Llands Adjacent unto the Same, Made First of
all by our Englishmen and Afterward by the
Frenchmen and Britons, in 1582. This work
led to his appointment as chaplain to the English
Ambassador to France, in 1583.
While living in Paris Hakluyt
spent a lot of his time collecting information
concerning French and Spanish movements in
America. This work led to A particular
discourse concerning Wesierne discoveries written
in the yere 1584, by Richarde Hackluyt of
Oxforde, at the requeste and direction of the
righte worshipfull Mr Walter Ragfly before the
comynge home of his twoo barkes, which was
not actually published until 1877. The
manuscript's object was to recommend the
enterprise of planting English colonies in North
In 1587, Hakluyt published A
notable historie containing foure voyages made by
certayne French captaynes into Florida, an
English translation of Histoire notable de la
Florida, which had originally been published
in Paris in 1586.
In 1588, Hakluyt returned to
England, where he remained the rest of his life.
Hakluyt's best-known work, The
Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries
of the English Nation, consisting of
eyewitness accounts and other records of more
than 200 voyages, was published in 1589. These
stories stirred up interest in navigation and
colonization, especially in the New World. The
work was subsequently expanded to three volumes,
which were published between 1598 and 1600.
In 1601 Hakluyt edited a
translation from the Portuguese of Antonio
Galvano's The Discoveries of the World.
That same year he became an adviser to the East India Company, supplying them with maps and informing
them as to potential markets.
Hakluyt's last publication was
a translation of Hernando de Soto's discoveries in Florida entitled Virginia,
richly valued by the description of Florida her
next neighbour (1609), which was intended to
encourage the young colony of Virginia.
Richard Hakluyt died on
November 23, 1616, and was buried in Westminster
Galileo Project galileo.rice.edu/Catalog/NewFiles/hakluyt.html
East India Company
Hernando de Soto
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