Thomas Hariot (often spelled
Harriot) was an English mathematician, astronomer, linguist, and experimental
scientist. During the 1580s, he served as Sir Walter Raleigh's primary assistant in planning
and attempting to establish the English colonies on Roanoke Island off the coast of present-day North
Carolina. He taught Raleigh's sea captains to sail the Atlantic Ocean using
sophisticated navigational methods not well understood in England at the time. He
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