Albert, Prince Consort
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria. He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, he married Queen Victoria, he felt constrained by his role of prince consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, was entrusted with running the Queen's household and estates, he was involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, a resounding success. Victoria came to depend more on his support and guidance, he aided the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary. Albert died at the young age of 42. Victoria was so devastated at the loss of her husband that she entered into a deep state of mourning and wore black for the rest of her life.
On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged. Albert was born at Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert's future wife, was born earlier in the same year with the assistance of the same midwife, Charlotte von Siebold. Albert was baptised into the Lutheran Evangelical Church on 19 September 1819 in the Marble Hall at Schloss Rosenau with water taken from the local river, the Itz, his godparents were the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1825, Albert's great-uncle, Frederick IV, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, died, his death led to a realignment of Saxon duchies the following year and Albert's father became the first reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Albert and his elder brother, spent their youth in a close companionship marred by their parents' turbulent marriage and eventual separation and divorce.
After their mother was exiled from court in 1824, she married her lover, Alexander von Hanstein, Count of Polzig and Beiersdorf. She never saw her children again, died of cancer at the age of 30 in 1831; the following year, their father married his sons' cousin Princess Marie of Württemberg. The brothers were educated at home by Christoph Florschütz and studied in Brussels, where Adolphe Quetelet was one of their tutors. Like many other German princes, Albert attended the University of Bonn, where he studied law, political economy and the history of art, he played music and excelled at sport fencing and riding. His tutors at Bonn included the poet Schlegel; the idea of marriage between Albert and his cousin, was first documented in an 1821 letter from his paternal grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who said that he was "the pendant to the pretty cousin". By 1836, this idea had arisen in the mind of their ambitious uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians since 1831. At this time, Victoria was the heir presumptive to the British throne.
Her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III, had died when she was a baby, her elderly uncle, King William IV, had no legitimate children. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, was the sister of both Albert's father—the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—and King Leopold. Leopold arranged for his sister, Victoria's mother, to invite the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his two sons to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of meeting Victoria. William IV, disapproved of any match with the Coburgs, instead favoured the suit of Prince Alexander, second son of the Prince of Orange. Victoria was well aware of the various matrimonial plans and critically appraised a parade of eligible princes, she wrote, " is handsome. Alexander, on the other hand, she described as "very plain". Victoria wrote to her uncle Leopold to thank him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me happy."
Although the parties did not undertake a formal engagement, both the family and their retainers assumed that the match would take place. Victoria came to the throne aged eighteen on 20 June 1837, her letters of the time show interest in Albert's education for the role he would have to play, although she resisted attempts to rush her into marriage. In the winter of 1838–39, the prince visited Italy, accompanied by the Coburg family's confidential adviser, Baron Stockmar. Albert returned to the United Kingdom with Ernest in October 1839 to visit the Queen, with the objective of settling the marriage. Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839. Victoria's intention to marry was declared formally to the Privy Council on 23 November, the couple married on
Sir Thomas Brock was an English sculptor, medallist, whose works include the monument to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace. Brock was born in Worcester, attended the School of Design there and undertook an apprenticeship in modelling at the Worcester Royal Porcelain Works. In 1866 he became a pupil of the sculptor John Henry Foley. After Foley's death in 1874, Brock finished some of his commissions, it was his completion of Foley's statue of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial which first brought Brock to prominence. His group The Moment of Peril was followed by The Genius of Poetry, at the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen and other imaginative works that mark his development, his portrait works include busts, such as those of Lord Leighton and Queen Victoria, such as Sir Richard Owen and Henry Philpott, bishop of Worcester, sepulchral monuments such as Lord Leighton in St Paul's Cathedral. In 1901 Brock was asked to make a colossal equestrian statue of Edward the Black Prince for Leeds City Square, was given his most significant commission, the vast multi-figure Imperial Memorial to Queen Victoria to be set up in front of Buckingham Palace.
He had made statues of the queen to celebrate her golden and diamond jubilees, designed the depiction of her "veiled" or "widowed" head, used on all gold and bronze coinage between 1893 and 1901. According to legend, at the unveiling of the memorial in May 1911, George V was so moved by the excellence of the memorial that he called for a sword and knighted Brock on the spot. Brock was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1883 and full member in 1891, he married in 1869, had eight children. His youngest son was the painter Edmond Brock. Statue of Richard Baxter, 17th century English Puritan church leader and divine scholar. In the Bull Ring, Kidderminster but moved to its present site, outside St Mary's parish church in March 1967. Unveiled 28 July 1875; the Black Prince, Leeds City Square, 1901. Equestrian bronze A Moment of Peril now in the collection of Tate Britain. Statue of Robert Raikes, Victoria Embankment Garden, London. Erected 1880. Statue of Sir Rowland Hill, inventor of the Penny Black and modern postal system.
Vicar Street, Kidderminster. Unveiled 26 June 1881. Statue and bas-relief on the Sir Henry Bartle Frere Memorial, Whitehall Gardens, London. Monument to Henry Philpott, Bishop of Worcester. South Transept of Worcester Cathedral. Seated white figure. Design of Queen Victoria's "veiled" or "widowed" head on British coinage and medals. Queen Victoria Monument, Carlisle. Erected 1902. Memorial to William Gladstone. St John's Liverpool. Unveiled 1904. Statue of Sir John Everett Millais, outside Tate Britain, London. Represented standing holding a palette and a paintbrush. Erected on the east side of the gallery in 1905. Statue of Queen Victoria, Uttar Pradesh, 1905 Statue of Queen Victoria, India, 1906 Victoria Memorial, unveiled 1911, completed 1924 Equestrian statue of Edward VII, Macquarie Street, Sydney. Brock was chosen for the commission in 1915, but the work was not finished and delivered until 1921. Equestrian statue of Edward VII. Unveiled in New Delhi, India, 1922. Bust of Henry W. Longfellow, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia.
Statue of Queen Victoria on the grounds of the Belfast City Hall. Memorial to the victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Statue of Sir Henry Irving on Charing Cross Road, London. Statue of Captain James Cook, in The Mall, near Admiralty House, London Figures of Navigation and Gunnery at the Admiralty Arch, London. Bust of Lord Joseph Lister, surgeon. Portland Place, London. A statue of Thomas Hughes outside Rugby School Library, unveiled in 1899. Beattie, Susan; the New Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. British Sculpture, 1850–1914. Exhibition catalogue, The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street London Wl. 30 September – 30 October 1968. Brock, Frederick. Sankey, John, ed. Thomas Brock: forgotten sculptor of the Victoria Memorial. Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781467883344. Byron, Arthur. London Statues. London: Constable, 1921. Getsy, David. Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877–1905. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. Read, Benedict.
Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982. Return of Outdoor Memorials in London, London County Council, 1910 Sankey, John Anthony. Thomas Brock and the Critics – An Examination of Brock's Place in the New Sculpture Movement. PhD Thesis: University of Leeds. Mark Stocker,'Brock, Sir Thomas'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Britannica Encyclopedia Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951 Royal Academy of Arts Collections This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Brock, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, was a British statesman of the Conservative Party who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone, his one-nation conservatism or "Tory democracy", he made the Conservatives the party most identified with the power of the British Empire. He is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth, he was a novelist, publishing works of fiction as prime minister. Disraeli was born in Bloomsbury a part of Middlesex, his father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue. After several unsuccessful attempts, Disraeli entered the House of Commons in 1837. In 1846 the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Peel, split the party over his proposal to repeal the Corn Laws, which involved ending the tariff on imported grain.
Disraeli clashed with Peel in the House of Commons. Disraeli became a major figure in the party; when Lord Derby, the party leader, thrice formed governments in the 1850s and 1860s, Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. Upon Derby's retirement in 1868, Disraeli became Prime Minister before losing that year's general election, he returned to the Opposition, before leading the party to winning a majority in the 1874 general election. He maintained a close friendship with Queen Victoria, who in 1876 appointed him Earl of Beaconsfield. Disraeli's second term was dominated by the Eastern Question—the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and the desire of other European powers, such as Russia, to gain at its expense. Disraeli arranged for the British to purchase a major interest in the Suez Canal Company. In 1878, faced with Russian victories against the Ottomans, he worked at the Congress of Berlin to obtain peace in the Balkans at terms favourable to Britain and unfavourable to Russia, its longstanding enemy.
This diplomatic victory over Russia established Disraeli as one of Europe's leading statesmen. World events thereafter moved against the Conservatives. Controversial wars in Afghanistan and South Africa undermined his public support, he angered British farmers by refusing to reinstitute the Corn Laws in response to poor harvests and cheap imported grain. With Gladstone conducting a massive speaking campaign, his Liberals bested Disraeli's Conservatives at the 1880 general election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in Opposition, he had throughout his career written novels, beginning in 1826, he published his last completed novel, shortly before he died at the age of 76. Disraeli was born on 21 December 1804 at 6 King's Road, Bedford Row, London, the second child and eldest son of Isaac D'Israeli, a literary critic and historian, Maria, née Basevi; the family was of Sephardic Jewish Italian mercantile background. All Disraeli's grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Italy.
Disraeli romanticised his origins, claiming that his father's family was of grand Spanish and Venetian descent. Historians differ on Disraeli's motives for rewriting his family history: Bernard Glassman argues that it was intended to give him status comparable to that of England's ruling elite. Disraeli's siblings were Sarah, Naphtali and James, he was close to his sister, on affectionate but more distant terms with his surviving brothers. Details of his schooling are sketchy. From the age of about six he was a day boy at a dame school in Islington that one of his biographers described as "for those days a high-class establishment". Two years or so—the exact date has not been ascertained—he was sent as a boarder to Rev John Potticary's St Piran's school at Blackheath. While he was there events at the family home changed the course of Disraeli's education and of his whole life: his father renounced Judaism and had the four children baptised into the Church of England in July and August 1817. Isaac D'Israeli had never taken religion seriously, but had remained a conforming member of the Bevis Marks Synagogue.
His father, the elder Benjamin, was a devout member. After Benjamin senior died in 1816 Isaac felt free to leave the congregation following a second dispute. Isaac's friend Sharon Turner, a solicitor, convinced him that although he could comfortably remain unattached to any formal religion it would be disadvantageous to the children if they did so. Turner stood as godfather when Benjamin was baptised, aged twelve, on 31 July 1817. Conversion to Christianity enabled Disraeli to contemplate a career in politics. Britain in the early-nineteenth century was not a anti-Semitic society, there had been Members of Parliament from Jewish families since Samson Gideon in 1770, but until 1858, MPs were required to take the oath of allegiance "on the true faith of a Christian", necessitating at least nominal conversion. It is not known whether Disraeli formed any ambition for a parliamentary career at
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother Queen Victoria, George was third in the line of succession behind his father, Prince Albert Edward, his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George's father ascended the throne as Edward VII, George was created Prince of Wales, he became king-emperor on his father's death in 1910. George V's reign saw the rise of socialism, fascism, Irish republicanism, the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape; the Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. As a result of the First World War, the empires of his first cousins Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany fell, while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent.
In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations, he had smoking-related health problems throughout much of his reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII. George was born on 3 June 1865, in London, he was the second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Alexandra, Princess of Wales. His father was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, his mother was the eldest daughter of King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark, he was baptised at Windsor Castle on 7 July 1865 by the Archbishop of Charles Longley. As a younger son of the Prince of Wales, there was little expectation, he was third in line after his father and elder brother, Prince Albert Victor.
George was only 17 months younger than Albert Victor, the two princes were educated together. John Neale Dalton was appointed as their tutor in 1871. Neither Albert Victor nor George excelled intellectually; as their father thought that the navy was "the best possible training for any boy", in September 1877, when George was 12 years old, both brothers joined the cadet training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth, Devon. For three years from 1879, the royal brothers served on HMS Bacchante, accompanied by Dalton, they toured the colonies of the British Empire in the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia, visited Norfolk, Virginia, as well as South America, the Mediterranean and East Asia. In 1881 on a visit to Japan, George had a local artist tattoo a blue and red dragon on his arm, was received in an audience by the Emperor Meiji. Dalton wrote an account of their journey entitled The Cruise of HMS Bacchante. Between Melbourne and Sydney, Dalton recorded a sighting of the Flying Dutchman, a mythical ghost ship.
When they returned to Britain, Queen Victoria complained that her grandsons could not speak French or German, so they spent six months in Lausanne in an unsuccessful attempt to learn another language. After Lausanne, the brothers were separated, he travelled the world. During his naval career he commanded Torpedo Boat 79 in home waters HMS Thrush on the North America station, before his last active service in command of HMS Melampus in 1891–92. From on, his naval rank was honorary; as a young man destined to serve in the navy, Prince George served for many years under the command of his uncle, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, stationed in Malta. There, he fell in love with his cousin, Princess Marie, his grandmother and uncle all approved the match, but the mothers—the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Edinburgh—opposed it. The Princess of Wales thought the family was too pro-German, the Duchess of Edinburgh disliked England. Marie's mother was the only daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
She resented the fact that, as the wife of a younger son of the British sovereign, she had to yield precedence to George's mother, the Princess of Wales, whose father had been a minor German prince before being called unexpectedly to the throne of Denmark. Guided by her mother, Marie refused George, she married Ferdinand, the future King of Romania, in 1893. In November 1891, George's elder brother, Albert Victor, became engaged to his second cousin once removed, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, known as "May" within the family. May's father, Prince Francis, Duke of Teck, belonged to a morganatic, cadet branch of the house of Württemberg, her mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, was a male-line granddaughter of King George III and a first cousin of Queen Victoria. On 14 January 1892, six weeks after the formal engagement, Albert Victor died of pneumonia, leaving George second in line to the throne, to succeed after his father. George had only just recovered from a serious illness himself, after being confined to bed for six weeks with typhoid fever, the disease, thought to have killed his grandfather Prince Albert.
Queen Victoria still regarded Princess May as a suitable match for her grandson, George and May grew close during their shared perio
Carlisle is a historic city and the county town of Cumbria. In Cumberland, it is the administrative centre of the City of Carlisle district in North West England. Carlisle is located at the confluence of the rivers Eden and Petteril, 10 miles south of the Scottish border, it is the largest settlement in the county of Cumbria, serves as the administrative centre for both Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council. At the time of the 2001 census, the population of Carlisle was 71,773, with 100,734 living in the wider city. Ten years at the 2011 census, the city's population had risen to 75,306, with 107,524 in the wider city; the early history of Carlisle is marked by its status as a Roman settlement, established to serve the forts on Hadrian's Wall. During the Middle Ages, because of its proximity to the Kingdom of Scotland, Carlisle became an important military stronghold; the castle now houses the Duke of the Border Regiment Museum. In the early 12th century, Henry I allowed the foundation of a priory in Carlisle.
The town gained the status of a city when its diocese was formed in 1133, the priory became Carlisle Cathedral. The introduction of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution began a process of socioeconomic transformation in Carlisle, which developed into a densely populated mill town. This, combined with its strategic position, allowed for the development of Carlisle as an important railway town, with seven railway companies sharing Carlisle railway station. Nicknamed the Great Border City, Carlisle today is the main cultural and industrial centre for north Cumbria, it is home to the main campuses of the University of Cumbria and a variety of museums and heritage centres. The former County Borough of Carlisle had held city status until the Local Government Act 1972 was enacted in 1974. What is known of the ancient history of Carlisle is derived from archaeological evidence and the works of the Roman historian Tacitus; the earliest recorded inhabitants were the Carvetii tribe of Britons who made up the main population of ancient Cumbria and North Lancashire.
According to Boethius and John of Fordun, Carlisle existed before the arrival of the Romans in Britain and was one of the strongest British towns at the time. In the time of the emperor Nero, it was said to have burned down; the Roman settlement was named Luguvalium, based on a native name, reconstructed as Brittonic *Luguwaljon, " of Luguwalos", a masculine Celtic given name meaning "strength of Lugus". Excavations undertaken along Annetwell Street in the 1970s dated the Roman timber fort constructed at the site of present Carlisle Castle to the winter of AD 73, protecting a strategic location overlooking the confluence of the Caldew and Eden rivers; this walled civitas the only one in northwest Britain served as the tribal centre of the Carvetii on the model of other such sites in Roman Britain. In 79, the two Roman generals Gnaeus Julius Agricola and Quintus Petillius Cerialis advanced through Solway as they continued their campaign further north; as a result, it is that greater control was achieved at Carlisle over anti-imperial groups.
This is indicated from the reconstruction of the fort at Carlisle in 83 using oak timbers from further afield, rather than local alder. At this time the Roman fort was garrisoned by a 500-strong cavalry regiment, the Ala Gallorum Sebosiana. By the early 2nd century, Carlisle was established as a prominent stronghold. The'Stanegate' frontier, which consisted of Luguvalium and several other forts in a line east to Corbridge, was proving a more stable frontier against the Picts than those established deeper into Caledonia. In 122, the province was visited by Hadrian, who approved a plan to build a wall the length of the frontier. A new fort, was built at Carlisle in the Stanwix area of the city north of the river, it was the largest fort along the length of Hadrian's Wall and was completed in stone by around 130. Like Luguvalium, which lay within sight, Petriana housed a 1,000-strong cavalry regiment, the Ala Gallorum Petriana, the sole regiment of this size along the wall. Hadrian's successor Antoninus Pius attempted to move further north.
It was not a success and, after 20 years, the garrisons returned to Hadrian's Wall. Until 400, the Roman occupation fluctuated in importance. At one time, it broke off from Rome, he was assassinated and suffered damnatio memoriae, but a surviving reference to him has been uncovered in Carlisle. Coins excavated in the area suggest that Romans remained in Carlisle until the reign of Emperor Valentinian II, from 375 to 392; the period of late antiquity after Roman rule saw Cumbria organised as the native British kingdom of Rheged. It is that the kingdom took its name from a major stronghold within it. King Urien and his son and successor Owain became the subjects of a great deal of Arthurian legend, their capital has been identified as the Cair Ligualid listed by Nennius among the 28 cities of Britain, which developed into Caer-luel, whence the city's modern Welsh name Caerliwelydd. Rheged came under Northumbrian control before 730 by inheritance after Rienmelth, daughter of Royth and great-granddaughter of Urien, married Oswy, King of Northumbria.
For the rest of the first millennium, Carlisle was an important stronghold c
East India Company
The East India Company known as the Honourable East India Company or the British East India Company and informally as John Company, Company Bahadur, or The Company, was an English and British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region with Mughal India and the East Indies, with Qing China; the company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China. Chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the company rose to account for half of the world's trade in basic commodities including cotton, indigo dye, spices, saltpetre and opium; the company ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been.
The company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, coming late to trade in the Indies. Before them the Portuguese Estado da Índia had traded there for much of the 16th century and the first of half a dozen Dutch Companies sailed to trade there from 1595; these Dutch companies amalgamated in March 1602 into the United East Indies Company, which introduced the first permanent joint stock from 1612. By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares; the government owned no shares and had only indirect control until 1657 when permanent joint stock was established. During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India. Company interests turned from trade to territory during the 18th century as the Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company struggled with its French counterpart, the French East India Company during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s; the battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left the company in control of Bengal and a major military and political power in India.
In the following decades it increased the extent of the territories under its control, controlling the majority of the Indian subcontinent either directly or indirectly via local puppet rulers under the threat of force by its Presidency armies, much of which were composed of native Indian sepoys. By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of £13,464,561, expenses of £14,017,473; the company came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India began in 1757 and lasted until 1858, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown's assuming direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj. Despite frequent government intervention, the company had recurring problems with its finances, it was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by rendered it vestigial and obsolete.
The official government machinery of British India assumed the East India Company's governmental functions and absorbed its navy and its armies in 1858. Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the captured Spanish and Portuguese ships with their cargoes enabled English voyagers to travel the globe in search of riches. London merchants presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean; the aim was to deliver a decisive blow to the Portuguese monopoly of Far Eastern Trade. Elizabeth granted her permission and on 10 April 1591 James Lancaster in the Bonaventure with two other ships sailed from Torbay around the Cape of Good Hope to the Arabian Sea on one of the earliest English overseas Indian expeditions. Having sailed around Cape Comorin to the Malay Peninsula, they preyed on Spanish and Portuguese ships there before returning to England in 1594; the biggest capture that galvanised English trade was the seizure of the large Portuguese Carrack, the Madre de Deus by Sir Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Cumberland at the Battle of Flores on 13 August 1592.
When she was brought in to Dartmouth she was the largest vessel, seen in England and her cargo consisted of chests filled with jewels, gold, silver coins, cloth, pepper, cinnamon, benjamin, red dye and ebony. Valuable was the ship's rutter containing vital information on the China and Japan trades; these riches aroused the English to engage in this opulent commerce. In 1596, three more English ships were all lost at sea. A year however saw the arrival of Ralph Fitch, an adventurer merchant who, along with his companions, had made a remarkable fifteen-year overland journey to Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Fitch was consulted on the Indian affairs and gave more valuable information to Lancaster. On 22 September 1599, a group of merchants met and stated their intention "to venture in the pretended voyage to the East Indies, the sums that they will adventure", committing £30