This is the first major study to comprehensively analyse English encounters with the New World in the sixteenth century and their impact on early English understandings of America and changing approaches to exploration and settlement. The book traces the dynamism of early English encounters with the Americas and the many cultural influences that shaped English understandings of the new lands across the Atlantic. It illustrates that rather than being a period of inconsequential colonial failure in the Americas, the sixteenth century was in fact an era of assessment, adaptation and application that culminated in the survival of the first Anglo-American colony at Jamestown. Encountering early America will appeal to students and scholars working on early English colonialism in North America and European cultural encounters with the New World. -- .