Essex, Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of


Essex, Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of

biographical name

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Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex, detail of a painting after Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, late …—Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London

(born Nov. 10, 1567, Netherwood, Herefordshire, Eng.—died Feb. 25, 1601, London) English soldier and courtier. He was the son of the 1st earl of Essex. As a young man, he became the aging Elizabeth I's favorite, though their relationship was stormy. In 1591–92 he commanded the English force in France that helped Henry IV fight the French Roman Catholics, and in 1596 he commanded forces in the sack of Cádiz. In 1599 Elizabeth sent him to Ireland as lord lieutenant, where he fought an unsuccessful campaign against Irish rebels and concluded an unfavorable truce, leading Elizabeth to deprive him of his offices in 1600. In 1601 he made an unsuccessful attempt to raise the populace of London in revolt against Elizabeth; he was captured, tried by his former mentor Francis Bacon, and beheaded.

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