Nathaniel Rich
Nathaniel Rich English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 merchant adventurer, born about 1585, was probably eldest son of Richard Rich, an illegitimate son of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich
Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich
Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich , was Lord Chancellor during the reign of King Edward VI of England. He was the founder of Felsted School with its associated alms houses in Essex in 1564....

. His mother was daughter of John Machell, sheriff of London
Sheriffs of the City of London
There are two Sheriffs of the City of London. The sheriffs are elected annually by the Liverymen of the Livery Companies, and it is a requirement for a Lord Mayor of the City of London to previously have served as a Sheriff. Sheriffs have only nominal duties now, but previously had large judicial...

. He had a legal training, and was admitted a member of Gray's Inn
Gray's Inn
The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns...

 on 2 February 1609-10; but he devoted himself first to political life, and later to the role of a mercantile pioneer. He entered Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 as member for Totnes
Totnes (UK Parliament constituency)
Totnes is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament , using the first-past-the-post voting system....

 in 1614, represented East Retford
East Retford (UK Parliament constituency)
East Retford was a parliamentary constituency in Nottinghamshire, which elected two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons for the first time in 1316, and continuously from 1571 until 1885, when the constituency was abolished...

 in 1621, sat on a royal commission in Ireland in 1622, and was member for Harwich
Harwich (UK Parliament constituency)
Harwich was a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Until its abolition for the 2010 general election it elected one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election....

 in 1624-5 and 1626 to 1629. On 8 Nov. 1617 he was knighted at Hatton House.

Rich became a board member of the Somers Isles Company
Somers Isles Company
The Somers Isles Company was formed in 1615 to operate the English colony of the Somers Isles, also known as Bermuda, as a commercial venture. It held a royal charter for Bermuda until 1684, when it was dissolved, and the Crown assumed responsibility for the administration of Bermuda as a royal...

, and later bought shares in the Virginia Company
Virginia Company
The Virginia Company refers collectively to a pair of English joint stock companies chartered by James I on 10 April1606 with the purposes of establishing settlements on the coast of North America...

 in 1619. Of the latter company he became a prominent member, and when, in April 1623, there occurred the great split between two factions in the company, he took a leading part on the side of his connection, Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick
Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick
Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick was an English colonial administrator, admiral, and puritan.Rich was the eldest son of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick and his wife Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich, and succeeded to his father's title in 1619...

. In May 1624, when the matter came before the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

, he was specially attacked by the opposing faction, but he sat on the Virginia commission of July 1624.

In 1629 Rich, with the Earl of Warwick and others, found the funds for the first voyage of discovery to Providence Island
Providence Island
Providence Island may refer to:*Providencia Island, part of the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina in Colombia, which was settled by the Providence Island Company*Providence Island is an island*Providence Atoll in Seychelles...

, off the north-east of Yucatan
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

. On 4 December 1630 they received the patent forming the governor and company of adventurers for the plantation of Providence and Henrietta. To this company Rich seems henceforth to have devoted his best efforts. Many matters of importance, especially regulations and affairs requiring legal handling, were left to him. When fresh funds were required he was always the first to respond. He evidently pursued a forward policy, for in 1635 we find him advocating the admission of all the adventurers to the benefits of the trade of the main. A little later, on his motion, the first local council of Providence was appointed. On 7 May 1635 he was appointed deputy governor of the company, and held the post for about a year. He died before 26 May 1636. It was rumoured that overdoses from an 'antimonial cup' from Massachusetts hastened his end. In his will he named several of the Rich (Warwick) family; he also left money to schools in the Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

s. He desired to be buried at Stondon
Stondon is a civil parish located in the Central Bedfordshire district of Bedfordshire, England. The parish includes the settlements of Lower Stondon and Upper Stondon....

, Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

, the manor of which he owned; he left it to a nephew, Nathaniel, probably Nathaniel Rich
Nathaniel Rich (soldier)
Colonel Nathaniel Rich sided with Parliament in the English Civil War. He was a colonel in Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army.-Life:...

(d. 1701).
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