I believe that Oda drew inspiration from real life pirates, Roger North and Walter Raleigh, to create Gol D. Roger and Silvers Rayleigh – but with their roles reversed (making Roger the captain and Rayleigh the first mate).
The following quotes are taken from their respective Wiki pages:
Roger North was a seaman and companion of Sir Walter Raleigh in his expeditions to Spanish colony of Guayana in 1617 to search for England El Dorado (actual Venezuela).
This happened to be Raleigh’s final voyage to Guyana/Guiana. Long story short, he was sentenced to death when he returned to England. He apparently had many chances to escape, but chose not to.
El Dorado (a.k.a. City of Gold) was also used for the Skypiea arc as we all know.
Also, Guiana/Guyana is shaped like a cross on the world map (X marks the spot?). Far-fetched, I know, but I personally think that Guiana could be Raftel – the place where many speculate One Piece is. More on that later on.
He remained imprisoned in the Tower until 1616. While there, he wrote many treatises and the first volume of The Historie of the World (first edition published 1614) about the ancient history of Greece and Rome. His son, Carew, was conceived and born (1604) while Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower.
The Historie of the World was written using a wide array of sources in six languages, and was left unfinished. I don’t know why, but this somehow makes me think of Roger’s ability to hear the Voice of All Things, and Poneglyphs.
He wrote not about England, but of the ancient world with a heavy emphasis on geography.
Inspiration for Void Century?
Raleigh was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on 29 October 1618. “Let us dispatch”, he said to his executioner. “At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear.” After he was allowed to see the axe that would be used to behead him, he mused: “This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries.” According to biographers, Raleigh’s last words (as he lay ready for the axe to fall) were: “Strike, man, strike!”
Inspiration for Gol. D Roger’s final words?
The name “Guyana” derives from Guiana, the original name for the region that formerly included Guyana (British Guiana), Suriname (Dutch Guiana), French Guiana, and parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Guyana” comes from an indigenous Amerindian language and means “land of many waters”.
There are nine indigenous tribes residing in Guyana: the Wai Wai, Macushi, Patamona, Lokono, Kalina, Wapishana, Pemon, Akawaio and Warao. Historically the Lokono and Kalina tribes dominated Guyana. Although Christopher Columbus was the first European to sight Guyana during his third voyage (in 1498), and Sir Walter Raleigh wrote an account in 1596, the Dutch were the first Europeans to establish colonies: Essequibo (1616), Berbice (1627), and Demerara (1752).
98 years from Columbus’ first sighting of Guyana and Raleigh’s account. Another inspiration for the Void Century?
Guyana’s tropical climate, unique geology, and relatively pristine ecosystems support extensive areas of species-rich rain forests and natural habitats with high levels of endemism. Approximately eight thousand species of plants occur in Guyana, half of which are found nowhere else.
Guyana has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. With 1,168 vertebrate species and 814 bird species, it boasts one of the richest mammalian fauna assemblages of any comparably sized area in the world. The Guiana Shield region is little known and extremely rich biologically. Unlike other areas of South America, over 70% of the natural habitat remains pristine.
A pretty darn amazing continent. I think Raftel will be something close to this – an island that is a “preview” of what the whole world could be like, something that the One Piece treasure can play a critical part in creating.
We all know that One Piece is something that will grant the finder wealth, fame, and power. Personally, I still have no idea what it could be, but my best guess is that it can grant infinite knowledge (past, present, future knowledge), which can be used for either good or evil (to unite/destroy the continents of the OP world?).
*Theory by lukesg