Tudor Minute April 4, 1572: Happy Birthday William Strachey

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for April 4.

Today is the birthday in 1572 of William Strachey, an early English historian who was one of the first sources of information on the English colonies in the new world. He also was an eyewitness of the 1609 shipwreck of the Sea Venture on Bermuda, caught in a hurricane while on the way to Virginia. After spending ten months on Bermuda, the survivors built two small ships, and eventually made it to Virginia. And it was this account that inspired Shakespeare to write The Tempest.

Strachey had been on board the Sea Venture when it was caught in the hurricane and run aground on Bermuda. This was the accidental beginnings of England colonizing the islands. Strachey wrote a letter in 1610 with an account of the disaster, as well as a report on the Jamestown colony, but as he was critical of the way the colony was being managed, the Virginia Company tried to suppress the letter. Later after the company was dissolved, the letter was published. His writings are some of the earliest first hand reports on Virginia during this period, and he also recorded a glossary of the words of Powhatan, the only one other than Captain John Smith’s.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.

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Trade and Exploration in Tudor England