68 Facts About Sir Francis Drake


Sir Francis Drake's expedition 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.

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Sir Francis 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.

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Sir Francis Drake was the oldest of the twelve sons of Edmund Drake, a Protestant farmer, and his wife Mary Mylwaye.

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Sir Francis Drake was ordained deacon and was made vicar of Upnor Church on the Medway.

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Sir Francis Drake's father apprenticed him to his neighbour, the master of a barque used for coastal trade transporting merchandise to France.

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Scholars think it is likely Francis Drake was illegitimate, and that is probably why he was placed at an early age into the household of William Hawkins of Plymouth.

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Sir Francis Drake began his seagoing training as an apprentice on Hawkin's boats.

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Sir Francis Drake likely engaged in commerce along the coast of England, the Low Countries and France.

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Loades says: "Whatever the truth of the matter, Sir Francis Drake seems to have completed his training out of the Medway".

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Anecdotal evidence indicates Sir Francis Drake next served in a fairly humble capacity, as a seaman, on a series of voyages on the ships of William's cousin, John Hawkins, between 1560 and 1568.

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Sir Francis Drake denied both accusations asserting he had distributed all profits among the crew and that he had believed Hawkins was lost when he left.

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In 1572, Sir Francis Drake embarked on his first major independent enterprise.

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Sir Francis Drake planned an attack on the Isthmus of Panama, known to the Spanish as Tierra Firme and the English as the Spanish Main.

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When his men noticed that Sir Francis Drake was bleeding profusely from a wound, they insisted on withdrawing to save his life and left the treasure.

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Sir Francis Drake stayed in the area for almost a year, raiding Spanish shipping and attempting to capture a treasure shipment.

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Sir Francis Drake raided the waters around Darien with a crew including many French privateers including Guillaume Le Testu, a French buccaneer, and Maroons, enslaved Africans who had escaped from their Spanish slaveowners.

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One of these men was Diego, who under Sir Francis Drake became a free man; Diego was a capable ship builder.

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Sir Francis Drake tracked the Silver Train to the nearby port of Nombre de Dios.

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At this point, Sir Francis Drake rallied his men, buried the treasure on the beach, and built a raft to sail with two volunteers ten miles along the surf-lashed coast to where they had left the flagship.

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When Sir Francis Drake finally reached its deck, his men were alarmed at his bedraggled appearance.

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Sir Francis Drake remarked as he saw the Pacific Ocean that he hoped one day an Englishman would be able to sail it – which he would do years later as part of his circumnavigation of the world.

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When Sir Francis Drake returned to Plymouth after the raids, the government signed a temporary truce with King Philip II of Spain and so was unable to acknowledge Sir Francis Drake's accomplishment officially.

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Sir Francis Drake was considered a hero in England and a pirate in Spain for his raids.

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Sir Francis Drake was present at the 1575 Rathlin Island massacre in Ireland.

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Meanwhile, Sir Francis Drake was given the task of preventing any Gaelic Irish or Scottish reinforcements reaching the island.

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Sir Francis Drake was employed as Drake's servant and was paid wages, just like the rest of the crew.

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Sir Francis Drake soon added a sixth ship, Mary, a Portuguese merchant ship that had been captured off the coast of Africa near the Cape Verde Islands.

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Sir Francis Drake added its captain, Nuno da Silva, a man with considerable experience navigating in South American waters.

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Sir Francis Drake's fleet suffered great attrition; he scuttled both Christopher and the flyboat Swan due to loss of men on the Atlantic crossing.

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Sir Francis Drake made landfall at the gloomy bay of San Julian, in what is Argentina.

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Sir Francis Drake's men saw weathered and bleached skeletons on the grim Spanish gibbets.

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Sir Francis Drake decided to remain the winter in San Julian before attempting the Strait of Magellan.

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Sir Francis Drake claimed to have a commission from the Queen to carry out such acts and denied Doughty a trial in England.

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Sir Francis Drake discovered news of another ship, Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which was sailing west towards Manila.

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Sir Francis Drake gave chase and eventually captured the treasure ship, which proved his most profitable capture.

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Sir Francis Drake was naturally pleased at his good luck in capturing the galleon, and he showed it by dining with the captured ship's officers and gentleman passengers.

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Sir Francis Drake offloaded his captives a short time later, and gave each one gifts appropriate to their rank, as well as a letter of safe conduct.

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So, intending to avoid further conflict with Spain, Sir Francis Drake navigated northwest of Spanish presence and sought a discreet site at which the crew could prepare for the journey back to England.

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Sir Francis Drake had friendly interactions with the Coast Miwok and explored the surrounding land by foot.

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Sir Francis Drake left the Pacific coast, heading southwest to catch the winds that would carry his ship across the Pacific, and a few months later reached the Moluccas, a group of islands in the western Pacific, in eastern modern-day Indonesia.

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Sir Francis Drake was hailed as the first Englishman to circumnavigate the Earth.

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Sir Francis Drake presented the Queen with a jewel token commemorating the circumnavigation.

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The "Sir Francis Drake Jewel", as it is known today, is a rare documented survivor among sixteenth-century jewels; it is conserved at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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Nevertheless, Sir Francis Drake continued to quarter his new arms with the wyvern gules.

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Sir Francis Drake lived there for fifteen years, until his final voyage, and it remained in his family for several generations.

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Sir Francis Drake was politically astute, and although known for his private and military endeavours, he was an influential figure in politics during the time he spent in Britain.

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Sir Francis Drake spent the time covered by the next two parliamentary terms engaged in other duties and an expedition to Portugal.

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Sir Francis Drake became a member of parliament for Plymouth in 1593.

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Sir Francis Drake was active in issues of interest to Plymouth as a whole, but to emphasise defence against the Spanish.

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Sir Francis Drake first attacked Vigo in Spain and held the place for two weeks ransoming supplies.

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Sir Francis Drake then plundered Santiago in the Cape Verde islands after which the fleet then sailed across the Atlantic, sacked the port of Santo Domingo, and captured the city of Cartagena de Indias in present-day Colombia.

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Sir Francis Drake was to confront and attack the Spanish Armada had it already sailed for England.

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Sir Francis Drake claimed he had sunk 39 ships, but other contemporary sources are lower, specifically some Spanish sources which suggest losses as low as 25 ships.

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Sir Francis Drake was vice admiral in command of the English fleet when it overcame the Spanish Armada that was attempting to invade England in 1588.

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Sir Francis Drake's ship had been leading the English pursuit of the Armada by means of a lantern.

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On being warned of the approach of the Spanish fleet, Sir Francis Drake is said to have remarked that there was plenty of time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards, perhaps because he was waiting for high tide.

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Sir Francis Drake whilst playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe is informed of the approach of the Spanish Armada.

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Sir Francis Drake taking the surrender of Admiral Pedro de Valdes on the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora del Rosario.

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Sir Francis Drake attempted to attack over land in an effort to capture the rich port of Panama but was defeated again.

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Sir Francis Drake was buried at sea in a sealed lead-lined coffin, near Portobelo, a few miles off the coastline.

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Sir Francis Drake proceeded to enter the churches in fury to sack them and urinate on the goblets.

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Together with the treasure Sir Francis Drake would have left a man chained or a sentry to wait for them to return, which they did not.

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Several landmarks in northern California were named after Sir Francis Drake, beginning in the late 19th century and continuing into the 20th century.

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Sir Francis Drake's will was the focus of a vast confidence scheme which Oscar Hartzell perpetrated in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Sir Francis Drake convinced thousands of people, mostly in the American Midwest, that Drake's fortune was being held by the British government, and had compounded to a huge amount.

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The swindle continued until a copy of Sir Francis Drake's will was brought to Hartzell's mail fraud trial and he was convicted and imprisoned.

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Sir Francis Drake's Drum has become an icon of English folklore with its variation of the classic King asleep in mountain story motif.

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The series follows Nathan Sir Francis Drake, a self-proclaimed descendant of Sir Francis Drake who retraces his ancestor's voyages.

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