Francis Drake: Pirate, Explorer or Privateer?. ACTIVITY 3: HISTORICAL ENQUIRY. Was Francis Drake a pirate, an explorer or a privateer?. YOUR ENQUIRY QUESTION. Key Stage 2 – Francis Drake: Pirate, Explorer or Privateer?. Sir Francis Drake.
Sir Francis Drake
He was the first Englishman to sail all the way around the world.
No one can say for sure exactly why he did it.
Then they sailed across the Pacific ocean home to England.
Francis Drake and his fleet sailed around the southern tip of South America and up the west coast of the Americas.
World map, 1570
Map of the world, 1626
Drake’s account of his voyage helped inform mapmakers to make more accurate maps.
The voyage’s investors
Francis Drake’s voyage made a big profit for his investors.
They each got £47 for every £1 they invested.
What did Drake take with him on the voyage?
These are some of the things Drake planned to take on his voyage.
Spanish silver dollar
Francis Drake would have collected plenty of these when raiding Spanish ships.
Drake returned to England with over ten tonnes of silver and 100 pounds of gold.
He shared the proceeds with his investors, his crew and the Queen.
“Before the Englishman turned loose my ship he gave certain articles to those whom he had robbed. In money he gave thirty or forty pesos to each one…
To me he gave a basin of gilded silver with a name written in the middle of it which said ‘Franciscus Draques’, and at the time he turned me loose he gave me a safe conduct in English signed with his name …
so that other English ships … would not do me any harm or rob me again.”
Drake’s encounter with a Spanish treasure ship
San Juan de Anton, captain of the Spanish ship nicknamed Cacafuego, captured in 1579.
Some of the stolen gold and silver was even returned.
This model is of a vessel that would have been very similar to Francis Drake’s ship, the Golden Hinde.
These merchant ships were used for transported cargo and, often, by English privateers on voyages to attack Spanish ships.
Drake founds ‘New Albion’
On his voyage, Drake claimed new lands for Queen Elizabeth I.
He also discovered new routes and sailed further north along the west coast of the Americas than anyone had done before.
Queen Elizabeth I
She granted explorers like Francis Drake the right to seek new trading routes and colonise new lands in her name.
She turned a blind eye to English privateering.
“[Drake’s] name and fame became admirable in all places. The people swarmed daily in the streets to behold him … Books, pictures and ballads were published in his praise …
There were others that devised and divulged all possible disgraces against Drake and his followers, terming him the master thief of the unknown world.”
-- writer John Stow describes the reaction in England to Drake’s voyage
A description of Francis Drake
Drake’s incredible feat made him famous for having sailed around the world.
Negative reactions were mainly from supporters of the executed Thomas Doughty and some members of the Queen’s court who feared war with Spain.
Philip II, King of Spain
He was the world’s most powerful man in 1577.
Philip complained that Francis Drake was attacking his country’s ports and treasure ships in Central and South America.
The king was said to have offered a huge reward for Drake’s life.