SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), English explorer, courtier and author, whose treasure-seeking expeditions to the Americas brought the potato and tobacco to Europe. Raleigh was a prime favourite of Queen Elizabeth I until she discovered his secret affair with one of her maids-of-honour. Subsequent poor relations with the Queen's successor, James I, led to Raleigh's imprisonment for treason in 1603. In 1616 he was released from the Tower of London to lead a gold-seeking expedition to South America. The trip was a disastrous failure and Raleigh was beheaded on his return under the former charge of treason.
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