Richard Whitbourne was born in Exmouth in Devon, England. Whilst apprenticed to a merchant adventurer of Southampton, he sailed extensively around Europe and twice to Newfoundland. He served in a ship of his own against the Great Armada under Lord Admiral Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk. He spent the next thirty years in cod fishing off Newfoundland. He assisted the pirates Peter Easton and Henry Mainwaring to seek pardons from James I of England.
Asked by William Vaughan to govern his colony at Renews in Newfoundland, he did so from 1618 until 1620 when Vaughan abandoned the venture. Whitbourne was sent to establish law and order in the colony, he was the first to hold a court of justice in North America at Trinity in 1615.
In 1620, Whitbourne published A Discourse and Discovery of New-found-land in order to promote colonisation on the island.
References and notes
- referred to as "Captaine Richard Whitbourne of Exmouth" in At Theobalds, the 12. of Aprill 1622. The copy of a reference from the Kings most excellent Maiesty: as also a letter from the right honourable lords of His Maiesties most honourable Priuy Councell, to the most reuerend fathers in God, the lords arch-bishops of Canterbury and Yorke their graces. (login required)
- Richard Whidborne (2005) Crosses & Comforts: The Life and Times of Captain Sir Richard Whitbourne, ISBN 0-9549655-0-7
- Paul O'Neill (2003) The Oldest City, The Story of St. John's, Newfoundland (p. 81), ISBN 0-9730271-2-6
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Whitbourne, Sir Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Government House The Governorship of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- A Discourse and Discovery of New-found-land by Richard Whitbourne (1620)
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