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Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake

b. 1540 Devonshire, England d. 1596 off the Panama Coast

 

At age 12, Drake went to sea in the service of a seasoned sailor (a sailor who has been to sea many times) who traded in the ports of France and Holland, and when the old man died he left his boat to the boy. In his twenties, Drake hooked up with his distant cousin, Admiral John Hawkins; in 1567, they left Plymouth together on a slave-trading expedition and stopped first at Cape Vere in Africa, where they and about 50 crew members went ashore with dogs to hunt for tribesmen. Finding but a few, they made straight for Guinea, succeeded in buying 200 prospective (possible) slaves, and  then sailed clear across to Mexico with human cargo. Spaniards attacked their ships with vigor (intense force) off the port of Veracruz, managing to sink all but two. Drake made it back to England but paid for his escapades with the loss of almost everything he possessed. From that moment on, he was driven by hatred for the Spanish, who would come to call him " the dragon."
 
His most famous voyage, undertaken in 1557, had the semi-secret financial backing and moral support of Queen Elizabeth I, who hoped that his activities in the Pacific would result in ending the Spanish monopoly (total control) of the trade there. Sailing west, he rounded the continent of South America on the Golden Hind and continued up the coast, ransacking Spanish galleons, including the treasure-heavy Cacafuego.
 
With unfavorable winds preventing him from sailing directly home across the Pacific, he strayed as far north as California and called the territory "New Albion" (Albion being a poetic name for England), claiming it in the name of his queen. From there he crossed not only the Pacific but the Indian oceans and sailed around the tip of Africa into the Atlantic. In November 1580, almost three years after setting out and "literally ballasted (filled) with silver," the Golden Hind  reached port in England.
 
When war with Spain broke out in 1585, Drake outdid himself, decimating (destroying) so many Spanish vessels that the great Armada had to be postponed (put off) for an entire year. He was and remains England's boldest privateer, who set his country on her ultimate course of empire - to rule the waves "from pine to palm" the long years through.
 
Below are links and sites for more information on Sir Francis Drake.
 

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE

Sir Francis Drake's Famous Voyage

Mariner's Museum: Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake Links

Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake Links

 

 

 

 

 

This site was last updated 08/04/2004 08:08 PM -0400