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Origins of English Empire Topic of Cone Lecture Oct. 30 at UW

October 24, 2018
head portrait of a man
Alan Gallay

The Lyndon B. Johnson Chair of U.S. History in the Department of History and Geography at Texas Christian University is the Cone Lecture in History speaker at the University of Wyoming.

Alan Gallay will discuss “Embracing the Natives: Walter Ralegh and the Origins of the English Empire” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public. A reception follows Gallay’s talk.

The UW Department of History and American Studies sponsors the Cone Lecture.

In his presentation, Gallay will discuss how, in the late 16th century under Queen Elizabeth, the English were determined to build an empire, and years of planning went into establishing overseas colonies. Even before the English had personally encountered American Indians, they considered how Natives should or should not fit into the empire.

“Solutions were suggested, from removal of Native peoples to genocide to enslavement,” Gallay says. “But, Ralegh suggested a far different course. He played the central role in all of Tudor England’s major attempts to establish colonies and called for an empire without conquest, where English and Natives would co-create their future together to the benefit of all.”

Although Ralegh’s vision did not prevail, it informed future colonization efforts and played a role in the empire that was to come, he adds.

Gallay received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Georgetown University and his B.A. from the University of Florida. He previously held the Warner R. Woodring Chair in Atlantic World and Early American History at Ohio State University, where he also served as director of the Center for Historical Research. He also taught at Western Washington University, Notre Dame and Mississippi; and also at Harvard, as a Mellon Faculty Fellow; Auckland, New Zealand, as a Fulbright lecturer; and the American Heritage Association in London.

Gallay has held two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is the winner of Columbia University’s Bancroft Prize in History, one of the most prestigious awards in the field, for his book, titled “The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717.”

Gallay has written extensively for academic audiences and general readers on subjects in early American history, slavery, Southern history, Native American history and the British Empire based on meticulous archival research throughout the United States, France, England and Scotland.

The Cone Lecture is made possible by the generous support of Susan B. Horton Cone. A native of Newcastle and the daughter of a local physician, Cone graduated from UW as a history major in 1931. Throughout her adult life, she spent time in Jackson Hole, Louisiana and California. But, home to Cone was always Newcastle, and the university was never far from her thoughts, according to her biography. 

In her later years, Cone expressed a concern that the increasingly technological society was losing sight of the value of the arts and humanities. Seeking to encourage discussion in the humanities, Cone endowed the lecture series in honor of her family.

For more information, call Isadora Helfgott, UW Department of History and American Studies chair, at (307) 766-5141 or email

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