Richard Hakluyt (1553 – 23 November 1616) was an English writer. He is known for promoting the English colonisation of North America through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and The Principall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation. His patrilineal ancestors were of Welsh extraction, rather than Dutch.
About Richard Hakluyt in brief
Richard Hakluyt (1553 – 23 November 1616) was an English writer. He is known for promoting the English colonisation of North America through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and The Principall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation. Between 1583 and 1588 he was chaplain and secretary to Sir Edward Stafford, English ambassador at the French court. He was the chief promoter of a petition to James I for letters patent to colonise Virginia, which were granted to the London Company and Plymouth Company in 1606. The Hakluytt Society, which publishes scholarly editions of primary records of voyages and travels, was named after him in its 1846 formation. His patrilineal ancestors were of Welsh extraction, rather than Dutch as is often suggested. They appear to have settled in Herefordshire in England around the 13th century, and, according to antiquary John Leland, took their surname from the Forest of Cluid in Radnorland. Some of his ancestors established themselves at Yatton, and must have ranked amongst the principal landowners of the county. A person named Hugo Hakelute was elected Member of Parliament for the borough of Yatton in 1304 or 1305, and in 1349 Thomas Hakeluyt was chancellor of the diocese of Hereford. He died in 1557 when his son was aged about five years, and his wife Margery followed soon after.
His father was a member of the Worshipful Company of Skinners whose members dealt in skins and furs. His cousin, also named Richard HakLUyt, of the Middle Temple, became his guardian. While a Queen’s Scholar at Westminster School, he visited his guardian, whose conversation, illustrated by bookes of cosmographie, an universall mappe, and the Bible, made him resolve to resolve to ‘prosecute that knowledge, and kind of literature’ He took his Bachelor of Arts on 19 February 1574, and shortly after taking his Master of Arts on 27 June 1577, began giving public lectures in geography. In accordance with instructions of Francis Wingham, Lord Effingham, he brought his work to the notice of Lord Howard, Lord Howard’s brother-in-law, and SirEdward Stafford, the English ambassador to Paris in 1583. In 1583 he was selected as Chaplain and Secretary to Stafford, now English ambassador in Paris, and brought him to the House of Lords. He held important positions at Bristol Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and was personal chaplain to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, principal Secretary of State to Elizabeth I and James I. His first publication was that he wrote that Divers voyages Touched the Discoveries of America, and one he wrote himself, it was made by the Ilands Adjacent and the Samemen and Made First of all by our Englishmen and Britons.