And so, Drake departed from England in December of , with a fleet of five ships and less than two hundred men. From the beginning, the journey was fraught with complications.
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While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Drake ordered two of his ships, the Christopher and the Swan , stripped of supplies and burned due to the loss of too many personnel. Doughty was executed there in Port St. Julian, the same spot where Magellan ironically had tried and convicted several mutineers of his own exactly 58 years earlier during his own circumnavigation expedition. The Golden Hind had been pushed southward away from Cape Horn to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America.
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Drake reportedly traveled up the coast as far as California, although some believe he may have reached as far as Canada or Alaska. His hold full of Spanish treasure, Drake feared the possibility of a Spanish trap waiting for him in the Strait of Magellan, and decided to return to England by way of the Pacific instead.
On September 26, , almost three years after his departure, Drake sailed into Plymouth Harbor with just fifty-six of his original crew. The venture made both he and his investors incredibly wealthy, and in April of the following year Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his service to the crown.
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That same year, Drake was elected to Parliament and became the mayor of Plymouth. He purchased a large estate known as Buckland Abbey where he settled down to enjoy the riches and acclaim he had earned.
Fate would see Drake return to the sea sooner than expected, however. In , tensions between England and Spain had escalated to the point that war had become inevitable. In response, Queen Elizabeth placed Drake in charge of a fleet of 25 warships, and ordered him to attack Spanish-held territories across the world. Augustine in Florida, and San Domingo in Hispanola.
Returning to Europe, Drake scored further victories against Spain and Portugal by capturing or destroying 37 merchant vessels at Cadiz, Spain and by occupying the city of Sagres, Portugal. Queen Elizabeth made Drake the vice admiral in charge of leading the defense against the Armada, making him second-in-command of the British Navy. Ultimately, however, Drake did not play a significant role in protecting England from the Spanish Armada, despite exaggerations on his part emphasizing his role in the defense.
It is believed that, against orders, Drake captured a Spanish pay ship carrying a significant shipment of gold coins in the early stages of the defense, then quarreled with another English officer, Sir Martin Frobisher, about how to split the money. Frobisher later went on to accuse Drake of withdrawing in the middle of the attack, labeling him a coward and a traitor.
In , Queen Elizabeth sent Drake on a counteroffensive against Spain with a fleet of ships. This offensive resulted in a catastrophic attempt to capture the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, leading to the death of thousands of English sailors. Six years later, in , Drake set off on what would be his final voyage.
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Drake led an expedition to attack Spanish settlement at San Juan, Puerto Rico; however, like his raid against Lisbon, this assault ultimately resulted in failure, one that Drake would not survive. In , still out at sea, Drake became ill and passed away from dysentery. His body, dressed in full armor, was placed in a lead coffin and lowered into the sea, to the accompaniment of trumpets and cannon fire. Mixed reputation or no, Drake unquestionably was and is one of the most famous figures in English history.
A cool fact that this article provided was that you have to learn how to be a pirate. I always thought that pirates were just thieves that raided everything in sight. This article also explained the bad and good parts of Sir Francis. He was a hero and had stayed loyal to the Queen, very patriotic in fact. It was a really interesting and detailed article. It is sad how people can be affected by just accusations without proof. The story of Drake is perhaps one of the most embellished in navel history.
For the longest time, he was seen as the champion of the seas under the British flag.
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In reality, he was simply a glorified pirate and coward who would swindle his way out of situations just to save his own life. I have always known Francis Drake to be a pirate. A privateer during those times were basically legal practices to be a pirate as long as you do not raid the employing countries ships or forts. I did not know that he was so successful in a naval career and that he had sailed around the globe. I knew that he had a thing for riches and possibly something about buried treasure somewhere of Spanish gold.
This article highlighted on his career out at sea very well. Great article with lots of information. I have to say that I did not know that one had to be trained in the fundamentals of piracy, I found that extremely interesting. It is easy to see why Drake had such a hatred for the Spanish after his early adventures at sea, but I am not sure I would consider him a hero.
follow link Even so, he had an impact on history and did much to advance the British Empire. It astounds me that anyone could get on a boat and sail around the world for three years. I definitely see why Sir Francis Drake was seen as a hero and as a villain in your article. He did many great things for Queen Elizabeth but personally, I see him as as coward because of the things described in the article, such as the way he wanted to split the money with an officer and his secret objectives.
Despite everything he did, he did achieve very good things for the English and as a mariner.
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It is amazing that Drake was able to attack multiple Spanish posts on the Western coast of both South and North America. His circumnavigation of the world is extremely rocky to say the least and this article really went into depth with that. Sir Francis Drake has such a diverse character in this article. I enjoyed the vivid recounts depicting him as all of those things.
I would like to think that he was neither hero or villain, but a brilliant man of opportunity. It also includes an encyclopedia, maps, almanacs, the Associated Press photo archive, and other references. If you receive an error, please verify that your browser is set to accept cookies. Notice of these funding sources must be provided on all printed or electronic presentations of POWER Library resources as listed below. CyberSmarts Learn how to be a safe, responsible, and smart citizen with these eBooks that teach you how to avoid predators, play games safely online, protect your privacy, and use social networks.
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