|London (United Kingdom)
Aphra Behn was born in Kent, England, and though it is not confirmed it is thought that her father was a barber and her mother a wet-nurse. In her youth, Behn undertook spying missions in Antwerp, Belgium for King Charles II, and she probably visited the colony of Surinam to gather intelligence. While Behn is known to have married, it is unclear who she married; her husband may have been a Dutch merchant named Johann Behn, whose name she took. In 1665, her husband died, and Behn began to earn a living by writing plays for the Duke’s Theatre in London. In the 1920s, Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf commented that Behn is thought to be the first professional woman writer in England, and thus she is a symbol of early feminism. Many of her plays, poems and short fictions also have feminist themes. She also translated works of others. She was recognized as a prolific playwright by her contemporaries and was connected to theatrical people including Elizabeth Barry, Thomas Otway, and Edward Ravenscroft. Behn was also probably associated with the circle of John Wilmot, a writer of satirical and bawdy poetry. In the late 1670s, she began to write propagandist plays for King Charles II and the emerging Tory faction, such as The Roundheads. In February 1685, Behn wrote her first major public poem, A Pindarick on the Death of our Late Sovereign, upon the death of Charles II, to express her concern about the transfer of legitimate power from one king to another.