396 years ago today at the Tower of London, Sir Walter Raleigh lost his head. Walter was a favorite of the Queen, Elizabeth I, and he rose rapidly in the court and in the eyes of his fellow countrymen.
The Queen knighted him. He wrote. He explored. He fought. He engaged in political machinations.
He secretly married one of the Queen's handmaidens. The Queen was not amused, threw him into the Tower.
But she relented and he got out, engaged in more exploration.
Elizabeth died. The new Monarch, James I, had his suspicions. The King threw Raleigh into the Tower. But again, Raleigh rallied, got out and went to South America on his second expedition in search of El Dorado. Failure. Returned home. King threw him into Tower yet again, mainly because the Spanish were irked at Raleigh because his men had ransacked one of their outposts.
This time, the man went to pieces before getting off the premises.
Walter Raleigh 1552 (or '54) - 1618