Sir Francis Drake by John SugdenHow well do you know the life of one of Britain’s great maritime heroes?
Discover the truth behind a man who remains a legendary figure of history more than four hundred years after his death.
Sir Francis Drake’s career is one of the most colourful on record. The most daring of the corsairs who raided the West Indies and Spanish Main, he led the English into the Pacific, and cirumnavigated the world to bring home the Golden Hind laden with Spanish treasure. His attacks on Spanish cities and ships transformed his private war into a struggle for surivival between Protestant England and Catholic Spain, in which he became Elizabeth Is most prominent admiral and marked the emergence of England as major maritime nation.
‘Excellent...It deserves to become the standard Drake life. His scholarship is impeccable’ Frank McLynn, Sunday Telegraph
Sir Francis Drake: The Villainous Hero (Pirate History Explained)
10 facts about Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake c. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from to , and was the first to complete the voyage as captain while leading the expedition throughout the entire circumnavigation. With his incursion into the Pacific Ocean , he claimed what is now California for the English and inaugurated an era of conflict with the Spanish on the western coast of the Americas,  an area that had previously been largely unexplored by western shipping. As a Vice Admiral , he was second-in-command of the English fleet in the battle against the Spanish Armada in Drake's exploits made him a hero to the English, but his privateering led the Spanish to brand him a pirate , known to them as El Draque. Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon , England.
Sir Francis Drake — to the Spanish, a wayward pirate; to the English, a hero. He could be considered a morally dubious hero in many ways, perhaps even a villain, but was still incredibly influential in Tudor times. Drake c. His father, Edmund Drake, was a farmer and preacher. The family later moved to Kent , where they lived in an old ship and it was there that his fascination with sailing began. Francis had a trading ship left to him by his apprenticeship boss at the age of 20, which was perhaps the catalyst for his historic naval achievements.
1. Sir Francis Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe
He first went to sea at the age of 12 becoming an apprentice on a trade ship. For most of his life Queen Elizabeth I ruled the country: it was time when Britain was growing in wealth and power, and keen to gain from the New World and Eastern spice trade. Although Drake was considered a hero in England, he was reviled as a pirate in Spain. He plundered Spanish ships and took the treasure home for himself and for his queen. His famous circumnavigation of the globe took three years from to
Sir Francis Drake c. In , Drake was chosen as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America, through the Strait of Magellan, and explore the coast that lay beyond. Drake successfully completed the journey and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I upon his triumphant return. In Drake saw action in the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, though he died in from dysentery after undertaking an unsuccessful raiding mission. After defeat at Nombre de Dios, Drake's fleet moved farther west and anchored off the coast of Portobelo, Panama. There, Sir Francis Drake contracted dysentery and, on January 28, , died of a fever. He was buried in a lead coffin at sea near Portobelo.
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon in around and went to sea at an early age. In , Drake made one of the first English slaving voyages as part of a fleet led by his cousin John Hawkins, bringing African slaves to work in the 'New World'. All but two ships of the expedition were lost when attacked by a Spanish squadron. The Spanish became a lifelong enemy for Drake and they in turn considered him a pirate.