The Life and Times of Sir Francis Drake

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Sir Francis Drake was a key figure in English, Elizabethan, and maritime history. He played a huge part in showing that the world could be circumnavigated with relative safety as well as being pivotal in helping to break the "Iberian monopoly" or what is now known as the Spanish and Portuguese combined empires (Buisseret 243). It was because of his life, decisions, and influence that England became a large naval power, with largest contribution of that being the defeat of the Spanish Armada. People should know more about the life and events surrounding this great historical adventurer, explorer, buccaneer and pirate.
Born to a family with a good name but humble means in Tavistock, Devonshire, England around 1540 to Edmund Drake and Mary Mylwaye Drake, Francis Drake grew up in relatively modest surroundings ("Francis Drake Biography."). He was the oldest in a poor tenant farming family, with eleven brothers to help feed, he was "barely in his teens when he signed on as an apprentice aboard a coastal vessel," where he found his calling in life (Bohlander 155). He inherited this first ship from his master when he died, but Drake had bigger dreams. He went to a distant and very wealthy relative, a cousin named John Hawkins, to beg employment. He was taken on as a kind of bookkeeper at first around the age of eighteen, but had made Captain of his own vessel, the Judith, by twenty two (Bohlander 155; Fernández-Armesto and Bradford). Together with Hawkins’ merchant trading and piracy, Drake became quite wealthy and well known, especially after a disastrous run-in with the Spanish in 1566 when, near what is now Veracruz, Mexico, Hawkins’ fleet was attacks with only Drake and Hawkins ships surviving (Bohlander 155; Fernández-Armesto and B...

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