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Inventing Virginia

Sir Walter Raleigh and the Rhetoric of Colonization, 1584-1590


Michael G. Moran

In 1584 Walter Raleigh received a patent from Queen Elizabeth to settle an English colony on Roanoke Island, on the Outer Banks of present-day North Carolina, soon to be named Virginia. Within the next few years, he sent a reconnaissance voyage and two actual colonies (both of which failed) to explore and settle the region. To support his colonization efforts, Raleigh assembled a group of communication experts who wrote reports and produced ethnographic drawings of the people and maps of the region to interest potential investors and colonists in the project. Inventing Virginia is the first book to thoroughly explore the communication strategies that Raleigh’s circle developed and applied in Virginia. This book will make important contributions to several fields, including technical and commercial communication, early American literature, Renaissance literature (especially prose studies), and rhetorical theory and practice.