During the early modern period (late 16th, early 17th century), England embroiled itself in conflict with Spain, contesting against each other through direct competition and expanding their territories elsewhere. The topic of this thesis is an analysis of Richard Hakluyt, a writer and geographer during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, and his role as a proponent of English expansionism in addition to the themes present within his works. This analysis focuses on how the themes present connected Hakluyt to a broader movement for English mercantile expansion and colonization towards the New World and Old. As Hakluyt wrote and collected the works of other explorers, he sought out the likes of Sir Walter Raleigh, supporting Raleigh’s endeavors in the New World and advocating for colonization. Not only did this advocation help Raleigh, but it also helped other future settlers become motivated to settle in the New World because of the themes presented throughout Hakluyt’s works. The findings of this research done by James Nash mentored by Dr. David Coleman highlight Hakluyt’s pivotal role in the advocation for colonization and disseminate the negative portrayals of the Spanish. As a spreader of this rhetoric, Hakluyt actively contributed to the broader English rhetoric against Spain called the Black Legend. By contextualizing Hakluyt’s works to the rhetoric about English colonization and the Black Legend, this research gives a deeper insight into understanding Hakluyt’s motivations and contributions to the broader narrative in early modern England.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2023


David Coleman

Mentor Department Affiliation

History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies