Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, son of Otho Gilbert and his wife Katherine Champernoun, was born in Devonshire, at his father's house called Greenway, upon Dart river, about 1539; educated at Eton and Oxford; devoted himself to the study of navigation and the art of war; was wounded at Havre in fighting against the French, and afterwards saw much military experience in Ireland, where after defeating the celebrated McCarthy More he was made governor of Munster in October, 1569; knighted at Drogheda by the lord lieutenant of Ireland, Sir Henry Sidney, January 1, 1570, and the same year returned to England and married Joan, only daughter and heiress of John Aucher, of Otterden, by his wife Ann, daughter of Sir William Kellaway; M. P. from Plymouth in 1571; commanded the squadron sent to reinforce Flushing in the autumn of 1572; returned to England in the fall of 1573, and was living at Limehouse in 1575-78. He became greatly interested in making discoveries, and in 1566 petitioned the Queen for the privilege of making northeast discoveries, and in 1567 of making northwest discoveries. he wrote a "Discourse of a Discovery for a new passage to Cataia," and conceived the design of planting an English settlement in the New World to countervail the power of Spain. Accordingly, he obtained a patent from Queen Elizabeth for this purpose, dated June 11, 1578; sailed in the fall of that year with seven ships and 387 men, but was soon forced to return; in 1579 he sent Simon Ferdinando and in 1580 John Walker to make preliminary explorations, and on June 11, 1583, sailed himself a second time with five ships bearing 260 men; August 3, 1583, he reached Newfoundland, of which he took possession in the name of Queen Elizabeth. From here he sailed southward, but the desertion and loss of several of his vessels forced him to abandon the expedition and to attempt to return home with the two that remained. On the way a terrible storm on September 10, 1583, swallowed up one of them hearing Gilbert himself. Throughout the whole expedition he showed an invincible spirit, and his last words will be kept in precious remembrance: "We are as near Heaven by sea as by land." He is justly considered the founder of American colonization. He was the father of a number of children, among whom are John, Bartholomew and Raleigh Gilbert, all of whom were interested in the settlement of America.