Editor says, what if Sir Walter Raleigh had been acquitted? muses Jeff Provine on the This Day in Alternate History web site. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
Editor says, in reality Raleigh was found guilty of treason, though King James would suspend his execution and hold him in the Tower of London until 1616, when he would be released to lead an expedition in search of El Dorado. During the exploration of Venezuela, an attack on a Spanish outpost would go wrong, his son Wat being shot and the attack being labeled an illegal act of war. To appease the Spanish, Raleigh's sentence of beheading was reinstated in 1618. It was said that "justice of England has never been so degraded and injured as by the condemnation of the honourable Sir Walter Raleigh". Editorial comments are entered in [light green] typeface.