State Capitol Marks 400th Anniversary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Death


Even 400 years after his death, Sir Walter Raleigh continues to intrigue. Raleigh sponsored three expeditions to Roanoke colony in the 1580s, the earliest British attempt to settle North America. In 1792, North Carolina’s legislature honored this feat by naming the state’s new capital city for the explorer, soldier, and writer.   

On Saturday, Oct. 27, the State Capitol will join worldwide remembrances of Raleigh by showcasing demonstrations of Elizabethan-era life on the Capitol grounds from noon-4 p.m. Re-enactors, including a portrayal of Sir Walter himself, will interact with visitors and demonstrate dances from the 1600s. Community groups such as the Raleigh Sister Cities, English Speaking Union, Sir Walter Chapter of the Colonial Dames, and the British American Business Council will have information tables on the Capitol grounds.

Inside the Capitol, visitors are invited to view a rare copy of a 1652 edition of “The History of the World,” written by Raleigh. The book is on short-term loan from the UNC Libraries at UNC Chapel Hill. At 3 p.m., a formal ceremony commemorating Raleigh’s life and legacy will be held in the historic House Chamber. N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall will give remarks and dignitaries representing North Carolina and British organizations will participate.  

This event is free and open to all. No reservations necessary.

For more information about the Capitol or this event, please call (919) 733-4994.


The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, architecture and function of the 1840 building and Union Square. It is within the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and located at One Edenton Street, Raleigh. For additional information please call or visit

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