Sir Walter Raleigh adopted a native boy
Sir Walter Raleigh, the famed explorer of the Americas, adopted a native boy he brought back to England from his travels, it has emerged.
Parish records show that Sir Walter brought a young, black boy with him from Guyana when he returned to England following one of his voyages of discovery.
A baptism register discovered in the London Metropolitan Archives shows that the boy was baptised in the Parish of Saint Luke, in Chelsea, on February 13, 1597.
The child, named Charles, was aged between 10 and 12 and is thought to have been one of the earliest and youngest natives brought to Britain.
Little is known about the boy's life in Guyana, but he is understood to have settled in Sir Walter's household and may have enjoyed the status of a personal servant rather than a slave.
Mark Nicholls, a Fellow and librarian of St John's College, Cambridge, said that Raleigh was known to have brought American Indians back from Guyana. "The intent was that they would go back home eventually, be civil and spread the world that the natives should obey the English Crown. [The document discovery] gives more insight into Raleigh. It was all part and parcel of his inquiring mind."
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John R. Maass - 1/26/2009
How could the boy be both black and a native?