- H. Sir Francis Drakeabt 1539/40 - 1595/96
- W. Mary Newman - bef 1585
Facts and Events
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE
English Admiral of the Ocean Seas
Sir Francis Drake was born sometime between 1540 and 1543, and died in 1596, at sea, off the coast of Panama. He was an English Admiral who had many great accomplishments. He circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580. He played an import ant role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. He was a buccaneer; that is, a pirate on the Spanish Main. He is the most famous English sailor of the Elizabethan Age.
Drake was the son of a tenant farmer who was also a passionate Protestant minister. In 1549 his family had to flee a Catholic uprising. The
combination of his father's militant views and his own personal experience, made Drake a life-long anti-Catholic. His family was so poor
that he had to leave them and go to sea while still a boy.
At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to a small coastal vessel sailing in the North Sea. These were difficult waters. It was in sailing them that Drake learned the skills that proved so useful in his later achievements. When the old man who owned the vessel died, he left the ship to Drake. When he was 23 years old, Drake sold his ship and signed on for duty in the Atlantic. When he made his first visit to the West Indies, he learned first-hand how the Spanish treated foreigners who invaded their empire. Later in life he would talk about the "wrongs" that had been committed against him and his crew. He was determined that at some point in the future he would avenge himself.
On a second voyage to the West Indies, his ship was attacked in Spanish waters off the coast of Mexico, and many of his crew were killed. He became even more determined to avenge himself at the expense of the Spanish. Drake captained a small vessel back to England after
this second expedition and, by his outstanding seamanship, he earned the reputation as a "successful" sailor. Even Queen Elizabeth was aware of who he was. In 1572 he obtained a privateering commission from the Queen. In essence, this was a permit to steal whatever he could in lands that belonged to the King of Spain. Drake was a man who possessed a broad vision and even though he commanded only two small ships, he decided to attack a major town in Panama. Although wounded in the attack, he managed to escape with a great deal of booty and this became the basis of his personal fortune. He marched across the Isthmus of Panama.
At this time in history, only Spanish ships were permitted in the Pacific Ocean. From a high ridge in Panama, he became the first Englishman to see the Pacific Ocean. Here, he prayed to God that his life would be saved and he would be allowed one day, to sail the Pacific in an English ship. He returned to England both rich and famous. During Drake's absence, Queen Elizabeth and Philip II of Spain, had reached a temporary truce. Drake was astute enough to know that, although Queen Elizabeth appreciated his efforts, she could not reward him publicly. He spent the next two years assisting the Earl of Essex subdue the Irish.
In 1577 he was chosen to lead an expedition around South America through the Strait of Magellan and to explore the coast that lay beyond it. His purpose was to conclude treaties with people who were not under the control of the Spanish, and to find a large continent somewhere in thesouth Pacific. His expedition was backed by the Queen, who urged him to avenge her on the King of Spain, who had caused her many injuries. He set sail in December of 1577, with 5 small ships and 200 men. A plot was discovered against Drake in Latin America. Drake executed the leader, Thomas Doughty, and abandoned 2 ships in Brazil. It took Drake 16 days to get through the Str ait of Magellan. Drake's ship, the Golden Hind was separated from his second ship which returned to England.
b. c. 1540, -43, Devonshire, Eng.
d. Jan. 28, 1596, at sea, off Puerto Bello, Panama
English admiral who circumnavigated the globe (1577-80), played an important role in defeating the Spanish Armada (1588), and was the most renowned seaman of the Elizabethan Age.
Born on the Crowndale estate of Lord Francis Russell, second earl of Bedford, Drake was the son of one of the latter's tenant farmers. His father was an ardent Protestant lay preacher, an influence that was to have an immense effect on Drake's character. His detestation of Catholicism had its origins not only in his father's teaching but in his own early experiences, when his family had to flee the West Country during the Catholic uprising of 1549. They made their way to Kent in southeastern England and, in exchange for their former country cottage home, found lodging in one of the old naval hulks that were moored near Chatham on the south bank of the Thames Estuary. Had he stayed in Devon he might have become a yeoman farmer, but his family's poverty drove him to sea while he was still a boy. When Drake was about 13 years old, he was apprenticed to a small coastal vessel plying between North Sea ports. Thus, sailing one of the harshest stretches of water in the world, he learned early how to handle small vessels under arduous conditions. The knowledge of pilotage he acquired during these years was to serve him in good stead throughout his life. The old sea captain left Drake his ship when he died, so that Drake, thereafter, became his own master.
Drake might have spent all his life in the coastal trade but for the happy accident that he was related to the powerful Hawkins family of Plymouth, Devon, who were then embarking on trade with the New World--the New World that, as Drake never forgot, had been given by Pope Alexander VI to the kingdom of Spain. When he was about 23, dissatisfied with the limited horizons of the North Sea, he sold his boat and enlisted in the fleet belonging to the Hawkins family. Now he first saw the ocean swell of the Atlantic and the lands where he was to make his fame and fortune.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Francis Drake, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Secondary quality.
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Sir Francis Drake, vice admiral ( – 27 January 1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580.
Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He died of dysentery in January 1596 after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico.
His exploits were legendary, making him a hero to the English but a pirate to the Spaniards to whom he was known as El Draque. King Philip II was said to have offered a reward of 20,000 ducats, about £4 million (US$6.5M) by modern standards, for his life.
- Sir Francis Drake, in Lundy, Darryl. The Peerage: A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.
- ↑ Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., c1915), 1:10, Secondary quality.
Drake, Sir Francis, circumnavigator of the globe, and the most famous seaman of his age. His parentage is not certain, but he was probably a son of Robert Drake of Otterton, by his wife Agnes Kelloway. The date and place of his birth are equally uncertain, but he was probably born at Crowndale, near Tavistock, Devonshire, in 1539, and was named for his godfather, Francis Russell, afterwards second earl of Bedford. his father suffered persecution and was forced to fly from his home at Tavistock, and inhabit in the hull of a ship, where most of his younger sons were born; he had twelve in all. Francis was at an early age apprenticed to the master of a small coasting vessel, who dying without heirs, left the bark to him. He seems to have followed this petty trade for a short time, but in 1565 he was engaged in one or two voyages to Guinea, the Spanish Main, and South America. Influenced by the accounts he heard of the exploits of Hawkins, who was his kinsman, he commanded the Judith in the fleet fitted out by that great commander, which sailed from Plymouth, October 2, 1667, and which, with the exception of the Minion and the Judith conveying Hawkins and Drake, were destroyed in the harbor of San Juan d'Ulloa by a treacherous attack of the Spaniards. In 1570 he went on his own account to the West Indies and in 1571 went again, the chief fruit of which voyages was the intelligence he gained of men and places which were useful for his future movements. In 1572 he sailed with two small ships, having on board the parts of three "dainty pinnaces," and being reinforced on the way by another English ship arrived at the Isle of Pines in Cuba, where they captured, two Spanish vessels. This adventure was followed by numberless others which involved the surrender of Nombre de Dios, the burning of Porto Bello, the sacking of Vera Cruz, the destruction of many Spanish ships, and the capture of a caravan of mules loaded with thirty tons of silver. On this voyage, in one of his journeys into the country of Panama, Drake, from a tree on the ridge, had a view of both oceans, and, transported at the sight, prayed fervently that he might live to sail the one he now first saw but had never visited. At length returning homeward, he arrived in Plymouth, Sunday, August 9, 1587, when, at the news, leaving the preacher in the midst of his sermon, everybody ran out of church to see the famous seaman.
This was the most famous voyage ever made by an Englishman, but Drake contemplated greater things. After some service in Ireland, Drake got together a squadron of five vessels and sailed again to America. He determined to visit that great wide spreading sea of the west, which he had seen from the ridge of Panama. He left Falmouth, December 13, 1577, and sailed to Brazil, and thence coasting southward passed through the straits of Magellan. All of his ships but the Pelican, in which he sailed, were either abandoned, destroyed in the storm or returned to England. But Drake was undismayed. Changing the name of his vessel to Golden Hind, he swept up the western coast of South America, plundering towns and shipping as he went. He then coasted California and North America, as far as 48° north latitude. Returning again southward, he anchored in a little harbor near the Bay of San Francisco and took possession of the country in the name of Queen Elizabeth, calling it New Albion. Having overhauled and reprovisioned his ship, he struck boldly across the Pacific and after an absence of nearly three years at least reached Plymouth, England, on Sunday, September 26, 1580 — being the first Englishman and the next person after Magellan to circumnavigate the globe. He arrived very richly freighted with gold, silver, silk, pearls and precious stones, amounting in value to one million and a half sterling, represented perhaps in modern values about $40,000,000. Queen Elizabeth visited Drake's ship at Deptford, and knighted him and bestowed upon him a coat of arms and a crest. And the King of Spain issued a proclamation offering 20,000 ducats for Drake's head. Soon after these events he served as mayor of Plymouth and as member of Parliament.
Queen Elizabeth having come to an open breach with the King of Spain, Drake was ent in 1585 with a fleet of twenty-six sail to attack the Spanish settlements in the West Indies. He took St. Jago in Cuba, St. Domingo, Carthegena and St. Augustine, and carried away booty to the amount of £60,000 sterling. Sailing northward he visited Lane's colony at Roanoke, and finding them disheartened took them all on board and carried them back to Portsmouth, England, which he reached July 28, 1586.
Drake was not long left idle. In 1581 he was sent with a strong fleet against the Spanish coast and created much havoc in sinking and burning 100 Spanish vessels, and destroying four castles on the shore; and off the Azores captured a Portugese East-Indiaman loaded with wealth estimated at £10,000. this was what Drake called "singing the King's beard." He liberally employed some of the wealth he had acquired in bringing water from a distant spring to the town of Plymouth. Drake was active in preparing England against the attack of the Spanish Armada. It was his urgent advice to the Queen not to wait the attack, but to carry the war to the Spanish coast and thereby break up the proposed movement. In the battle with the Armada he was vice-admiral under Lord Charles Howard, and his squadron had the principal share in the discomfiture of the Spanish fleet as it fled before the storms and foe.
The next year Drake was sent with a body of land forces under Sir John Norris for the purpose of restoring Don Antonio to the throne of Portugal, but the expedition was attended with a large loss of life and was not successful in its primary objects, though Drake had the good fortune to capture a large fleet laden with naval shores, thus putting an end to all proposals of an invasion from Spain. For the next few years Drake was actively but peacefully employed on shore, and in 1593 said in parliament for Plymouth. In 1594 he was admiral of a fleet to make another attack on the West Indies, and Sir John Hawkins was vice-admiral. The expedition seems to have been unfortunate from the beginning. the enemy were forewarned, and everywhere they met with determined opposition. Various towns, including Nombre de Dios, were burned and sacked, but they obtained no booty. Hawkins died when off Porto Rico, and Drake fell sick of dysentery. His disease was aggravated by his disappointment and exertions, and it finally took a bad turn. On the return he also died off Porto Rico, the date being January 28, 1595-96. His body, encased in a leaden coffin, was committed to the deep next day. he was twice married; first to Mary Newman, and secondly to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Sydenham, who survived him and afterwards married Sir William Courtenay, of Powderham, in Devonshire. he left no children nor did any of his eleven brothers, except one Captain Thomas Drake, who left a daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Bamfield, Esq.; and a son Francis, who was created baronet August 2, 1622.