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Hakluyt, Revd Richard

Hakluyt, Revd Richard (c.1551–1616). In 1589, ‘for the honour and benefit of this commonwealth wherein I live and breathe’, Hakluyt published the Principall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation. He wished to persuade the English to abandon the depressed trades to the continent and embark on enterprises in the wider world. Christ Church, Oxford, had introduced him to ‘the sweet study of the history of cosmography’ and then as chaplain to the English embassy in Paris from 1583 to 1588 he had come to realize how far behind France, Spain, and Portugal was England in the pursuit of wealth from non-European regions. Later a canon at Westminster, he became a publicist for the North-West Passage idea and other projects, and adviser to the new East India Company in 1600. The 1598–1600 three-volume extended edition of Principall Voyages, a ‘prose epic’ as well as a record of English explorations, is his chief memorial.

Roy C. Bridges

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