Navigator; born near Tavistock, Devonshire, England
, between 1539 and 1546.
Becoming a seaman in early youth, he was owner and master of a ship at the age of eighteen years. After making commercial voyages to Guinea
, he sold her, and invested the proceeds in an expedition to Mexico
, under Captain Hawkins
, in 1567.
The fleet was nearly destroyed in an attack by the Spaniards at San Juan de Ulloa
(near Vera Cruz
), and Drake
returned to England
stripped of all his property.
The Spanish government refused to indemnify him for his losses, and he sought revenge and found it. Queen Elizabeth gave him a commission in the royal navy, and in 1572 he sailed from Plymouth
with two ships for the avowed purpose of plundering the Spaniards.
He did so successfully on the coasts of South America
, and returned in 1573 with greater wealth than he ever possessed before.
was welcomed as a hero; he soon won the title honorably by circumnavigating the globe.
He had seen from a mountain on Darien
the waters of the Pacific Ocean
, and resolved to explore them.
Under the patronage of the Queen
, he sailed from Plymouth
in December, 1577; passed through the Strait of Magellan
into the Pacific Ocean
; pillaged the Spanish
settlements on the coasts of Peru
, and a Spanish galleon laden with gold
bullion; and, pushing northward, discovered the bay of San Francisco
, took possession of California
in the name of his Queen
, and named the country New Albion, or New England
He had sailed northward as high, probably, as latitude 46°, or near the boundary between Oregon
and the British
possessions, and possibly he went farther north, for he encountered very cold weather in June, and turned back.
entered a fine bay and landed his stores, preparatory to repairing his ship; and he remained on the coast fully a month, hospitably treated by the natives.
Late in June he was visited by the king of the country and his official attendants.
The former was dressed in rabbit-skins—a peculiar mark of distinction.
His officers were clad in feathers, and his other followers were almost naked.
received them cordially.
The sceptre-bearer and
another officer made speeches, after which the natives indulged in a wild dance, in which the women joined.
was asked to sit down, when the king and his people desired him to “become the king and governor of the country.”
the king, singing with all the rest, set a crown upon Drake's head
, and saluted him as Hioh, or sovereign.
accepted the honor in the name of Queen Elizabeth.
After taking possession of the country he erected a wooden post, placed upon it a copper plate, with an inscription, on which was asserted the right of Queen Elizabeth and her successors to the kingdom, with the time of his arrival there, and a statement of the voluntary resignation of the country to the English
by the king and people.
On the same plate were engraved the portrait and arms of the Queen
and the navigator.
Then he sailed for the Molucca Islands
It is believed that Sir Francis Drake
entered the “Golden Gate
” of San Francisco Bay
, and that near its shores the ceremony of his coronation took place.
Fearing encounters with the Spaniards on his return with his treasure-laden vessels, Drake
sought a northeast passage to England
Met by severe cold, he turned back, crossed the Pacific
to the Spice Islands
, thence over the Indian Ocean
, and, doubling the Cape of Good Hope
, reached England
in November, 1580.
, who afterwards plundered Spanish towns on the Atlantic coasts
; and, returning, took a distressed English colony from Roanoke Island
and carried them to England
In command of a fleet of thirty vessels, in 1587, he destroyed 100 Spanish vessels in the harbor of Cadiz
; and from a captured vessel in the East India
trade the English
learned the immense value of that trade and how to carry it on. As vice-admiral
materially assisted in defeating the Spanish Armada
in 1588; and the next year he ravaged the coasts of the Spanish
After various other exploits of a similar kind, he accompanied Hawkins
to the West Indies
died at Porto Rico
, and Drake
, in supreme command, gained victory after
Part of map of Drake's voyages, published at close of sixteenth century.
victory over the Spaniards.
He died near Puerto Bello, Dec. 27, 1595, and was buried at sea.