Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Sir John Hawkins

Picture of Sir John Hawkins

Picture of Sir John Hawkins

Short Biography of the life of Sir John Hawkins - Explorer, Soldier and Privateer
The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Sir John Hawkins:

  • Nationality - English
  • Lifespan - 1532 - 1595

  • Family - Son of William Hawkins, an extremely wealthy ship builder, and father of Sir Richard Hawkins. Cousin of Sir Francis Drake
  • Career - Explorer, Soldier, Pirate and Privateer
  • Famous for his voyages to West Africa and South America

Facts & History about the life of Sir John Hawkins - Explorer, Soldier and Privateer
The following are additional facts about the life and history of Sir John Hawkins:

  • 1535: Sir John Hawkins was born in Plymouth, England - the fourth son of Elizabethan merchant
  • The early life of Sir John Hawkins brought him into contact with the great seamen of Devon
  • Sir John Hawkins married twice - Catherine Gonson and Margaret Vaughn
  • 1561: John Hawkins makes his first voyage to the West Indies
  • 1562: John Hawkins hijacks Portuguese slave ship and trades the slaves in the Caribbean beginning England's participation in the slave trade
  • 1560: John Hawkins forms a syndicate of wealthy merchants who invest in the slave trade
  • April 1563 Hawkins reaches north of Hispaniola
  • 1564: John Hawkins second voyage to the West Indies and Guinea. Queen Elizabeth takes a share of loans him one of her ships
  • 1567 John Hawkins departs on third voyage
  • 1568 Hawkins fights Spanish at Battle of Vera Cruz and then in Mexico. He looses 2 ships which precipitates an undeclared state of war
  • 1569: Sir John Hawkins became an Elizabethan privateer
  • Elizabethan Privateers were lawful pirates who were authorised by their government and sovereign to attack the treasure ships of enemy nations. The English government issued ‘letters of marque’ to the famous Elizabethan pirates which licensed these sailors to plunder enemy ships - Spanish ships
  • 1571 John Hawkins acted as a double agent in a plot with Felipe II to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. His information helped William Cecil, Lord Burghley, to have the main conspirators arrested and executed
  • 1577: John Hawkins returned to the family business of ship building and started building new English war ships
  • 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
  • 1588: John Hawkins is knighted for his brave service fighting the Armada
  • 1595, 12 Nov: Sir John Hawkins went on another voyage to the Caribbean and died in Puerto Rico

Famous Elizabethans - Sir John Hawkins - Explorer, Soldier and Privateer
Additional details, pictures, facts, timeline, history and information about the famous Elizabethans and events in Elizabethan Times can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

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