Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Sir Francis Drake

Picture of Sir Francis Drake

Picture of Sir Francis Drake


Short Biography of the life of Sir Francis Drake - Seaman, Explorer and Pirate

The following facts, biography information provides basic facts about the life Sir Francis Drake:

  • Nationality - English
  • Lifespan - 1540 - 1596

  • Family - Son of a farmer and preacher
  • Sir Francis Drake Naval Career
    • Navigator of a small merchant ship in the 1550's
    • Officer on West African slave ships
    • Sailed to the Caribbean with his cousin John Hawkins
    • Francis Drake was the first to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast of South America
    • Sailed round the World in the ship called the Golden Hind
    • Appointed Vice Admiral of the navy that destroyed the Spanish Armada
  • Famous as a seaman, explorer and a pirate, sailing around the World, raiding the Spanish and helping to defeat the Spanish Armada
  • The Golden Hind Ship

Facts, Timeline & History about the life of Sir Francis Drake - Seaman, Explorer and Pirate
The following are additional facts and timeline about the life and history of Sir Francis Drake:

  • Born in Tavistock, in Devonshire
  • Francis Drake was the eldest of twelve sons.
  • Distant relative of Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Drake married Mary Newman before he had acquired wealth or fame in 1569 but she died 12 years later
  • In 1572 Queen Elizabeth commissioned Drake as a privateer to sail for the Americas
  • Drake was the first to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast of South America. He raided Nombre de Dios, Panama
  • He returned to England bringing Spanish gold and plunder
  • In 1577 Queen Elizabeth selected him to be the head of an expedition that was to sail around the world
  • He re-named his ship from 'The Pelican to the 'Golden Hind'
  • In 1579 he stopped near the present-day San Francisco to repair the Golden Hind. He claimed the land for for England which he called New Albion
  • 1580 he returned to England
  • In 1581 he was knighted Sir Francis Drake on board the Golden Hind by Queen Elizabeth
  • He purchased Buckland Abbey in Devon
  • In 1585 Drake married Elizabeth Sydenham, some twenty years his junior who came from a wealthy and well-connected family
  • 1585: Drake travelled to Brazil accompanied by his nephew Richard Hawkins
  • 26 June 1586 - Drake visited Sir Walter Raleigh's colony headed by Ralph Lane, finding disheartened colonists and hostile Indians
  • In 1587 Drake attacked and destroyed the Spanish Fleet at Cadiz - referred to as 'Singeing Philip of Spain's beard'
  • In 1588 he was appointed Vice Admiral of the navy that destroyed the Spanish Armada
  • Famous for finishing a game of bowls whilst waiting for the weather to change before sailing to meet the Spanish Armada
  • 1588: Spanish Armada of 132 ships sails for England. England's navy consists of 34 ships and 163 armed merchant vessels
  • 1588 Jul 29, The Spanish Armada was sighted off the coast of England
  • 1588 Jul 30, The English exchanged fire with the Spanish Armada
  • 1588 Aug 8, The English Navy destroys the Spanish Armada
  • 1595: Sir Francis Drake embarks on his last voyage to the Caribbean with Sir John Hawkins (who dies of fever on the voyage)
  • 1595: Sir Francis Drake was sent to attack Spanish settlements in the West Indies but he also died on the journey home
  • 1596 January 28: Sir Francis Drake died on board the Defiance aged about 55
  • Sir Francis Drake died of a tropical disease referred to as "the bloody flux" which was probably Yellow Fever
  • 1596 January 29: Sir Francis Drake was buried at sea in a lead coffin off Puerto Bello
  • Sir Francis Drake had no children
  • His title passed to a nephew - also named Francis
  • In 1628 the second Sir Francis Drake published the chronicle of the circumnavigation called 'The World Encompassed'

Famous Elizabethans - Sir Francis Drake - Seaman, Explorer and Pirate
Some interesting facts, timeline and biography information about the History, Life & Times of Sir Francis Drake. Additional details, facts, history and information about the famous Elizabethans and events in Elizabethan Times can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

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