Sir Francis Drake was a famous explorer and privateer who sailed the world in search of new adventures. He is best known for his voyage around the world in 1577, which became the first successful circumnavigation of the globe. Drake also played a significant role in defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588, one of English history’s most important naval battles.
Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon, England in 1540. His father was a Protestant minister and his mother was a devout Catholic. Drake was educated at home by his father, and he showed an early interest in sailing and exploration. At the age of twelve, he accompanied his cousin on a voyage to Ireland.
Marriage and Career
In 1562, Drake married Mary Newman, with whom he had a son and two daughters. He also had an illegitimate son named John.
Drake began his career as a privateer in the service of Queen Elizabeth I in 1563. A privateer was a maritime mercenary who raided enemy shipping during wartime. Privateering allowed Drake to plunder Spanish ships and gold without fear of prosecution, as he was acting on behalf of the English crown.
Voyage Around the World
In 1577, Drake set sail from Plymouth, England in his ship The Golden Hind. He circumnavigated the globe, becoming the first person to do so successfully. Along the way, he raided Spanish ports and captured treasure. He also discovered new lands, including California (which he named after the queen).
Defeat of the Spanish Armada
In 1588, Drake played a key role in defeating the Spanish Armada, one of history’s most important naval battles. The armada was a fleet of 130 ships sent by the Spanish king to invade England.
People believe that Drake was playing a game of bowls before the Spanish fleet came. When he was warned that the Spanish fleet was coming, Drake said that there was plenty of time to finish the game and then go beat them.
Drake helped to destroy many of the ships with his fire-ships, and he also captured or sank many others. The English victory at the Battle of Gravelines was largely due to Drake’s efforts.
After returning from his voyage around the world, Drake became a wealthy man. He purchased an estate in Devon called Buckland Abbey, which he left to his family.
Drake died of dysentery in 1596 at the age of 56. He was buried at sea in a lead coffin off the coast of Panama.
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