ABSTRACT

In the years between the publication of Richard Eden’s translation of Peter Martyr’s The decades of the Newe worlde or West India in 1555 and its re-publication under the auspices of Richard Willes in 1577, the English effort to establish overseas trade in emerging economies began to assume a more consistent and forceful shape. Proponents of English overseas ventures increasingly turned their attention toward the Americas. Although Eden’s translations of Spanish encounter narratives provided English readers with detailed descriptions of America, its inhabitants, its fabulous wealth, and the exploits of the conquistadors who fought for God and country, English investments initially focused on more proximal markets in Africa and Russia. In these early decades of the English colonial enterprise, a steady stream of commercial ventures sailed to both locations, though without achieving the kinds of profit, measured in both gold and acquired territories, that the Spanish found in the Americas.