Sir Ferdinando Gorges

(c. 1568—1647) army officer and promoter of colonization in America

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(C.1566–1647), English soldier, was one of the organizers of the Virginia Company of Plymouth (1606), employed John Smith to head successive unsuccessful settlements in Maine, and himself directed commercial voyages to New England. He obtained a revised charter for a Council for New England (1620), which set the boundaries of “New England” between 40° and 48° N. latitude, and wrote The Briefe Narration of the Original Undertakings of the Advancement of Plantations into Parts of America (1647) in a vain attempt to win financial support for the enterprise. His schemes for an aristocratic Anglican settlement failed because of the surprising success of the grants to the Pilgrims (1620) and to the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628). Negotiations to make all New England a royal province, under the governorship of Gorges, were never completed because of the growing power of the Puritans in England. He received instead the title to the province of Maine (1639), but could not acquire the finances needed for extensive colonization.


From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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