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Admiral Sir Francis Drake was the most famous English privateer and navigator of the Elizabethan era. He was appointed by Queen Elizabeth I to lead the search for new trade routes. From 1577 until 1580, he circumnavigated the globe.
See the fact file below for more information on the Sir Francis Drake or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Sir Francis Drake worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon, England, sometime between 1540 and 1544. His parents were Edmund Drake, a farmer at the estate of Lord Francis Russell, and Mary Mylwaye. Young Francis grew up near the sea. From a young age, he worked under a merchant who traded goods between England and France.
- He was the cousin of John Hawkins and a distant relative of Sir Walter Raleigh. By the 1560s, Drake set sail on his first expedition with John Hawkins. With a small fleet, he and Hawkins commanded a ship named Judith and sailed to Africa as illegal slave traders.
- As part of the transatlantic slave trade, Drake transported slaves from Africa to the West Indies. This was forbidden by Spanish authorities who restricted English trade in the New World. In 1568, under the orders of the Spanish viceroy, Drake’s fleet was trapped in the port of San Juan and attacked by Spanish warships. Most of the fleet was destroyed but Drake was able to escape.
- Upon his return from the New World, Drake became a privateer and raided Spanish cargo ships. Spain considered him a pirate.
- Over the next few years, Drake stole tons of gold and silver from raided Spanish towns. His actions were recognized by Queen Elizabeth I and she gave him a fleet to continue raiding Spanish towns in South America and seize property of King Philip of Spain.
- Queen Elizabeth I ruled England for 44 years. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
- During her reign, Spanish and English relations were tense.
- On November 15, 1577, Drake and his fleet left England. He captained the largest ship named the Pelican (later known as the Golden Hind) and reached Peru by crossing the Atlantic and the Strait of Magellan to reach the Pacific.
- Drake ransacked every town in Peru and captured the Spanish ship Cacafuego. After three years of sailing, he returned to England loaded with treasure for the queen. Though she couldn’t acknowledge his gifts, which would antagonise Spain, she knighted him Sir Francis Drake in 1581.
- Drake’s expedition was the second in history to circumnavigate the globe.
- Between 1585 and 1586, England’s relationship with Spain grew worse. King Philip II of Spain organized a fleet known as the Armada to conquer England. The Armada was thought to be invincible because Spain was wealthy and a world leader in navigation.
- In 1588, Queen Elizabeth I appointed Drake as the vice admiral of the English Navy. On July 21, over a hundred Spanish ships entered the English Channel. Drake and Admiral Charles Howard knew the odds were stacked against them. The English ships were faster and more maneuverable, however, and they sent fire ships into the Spanish fleet.
- A devastating storm then hit and the Armada, which had no place to harbor until it passed, was significantly damaged. More damage and losses occurred on the Armada’s return journey. As a result, England became the most powerful navy in the world.
- A year after the attempted invasion, Drake was called by the queen to destroy the remaining ships of the Armada. He also supported the rebels in Lisbon against Spanish authorities.
- He returned home and became the mayor of Plymouth.
- By 1595, the queen commissioned Drake and his cousins to raid all Spanish treasure in Panama.
- After the unsuccessful battle at the Nombre de Dios, the English fleet moved west to the coast of Portobelo, Panama.
- Drake contracted dysentery while in Portobelo. On January 28, 1596, he died while on his last voyage to the Caribbean. It’s believed that Drake was buried at sea in a lead coffin near Portobelo.
- In 1628, The World Encompassed was published containing his chronicles of circumnavigation.
- Sir Francis Drake was married twice, first to Mary Newman and then to Elizabeth Sydenham, and had no children.
Sir Francis Drake Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Sir Francis Drake across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Sir Francis Drake worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Admiral Sir Francis Drake who was the most famous English privateer and navigator of the Elizabethan era. He was appointed by Queen Elizabeth I to lead the search for new trade routes. From 1577 until 1580, he circumnavigated the globe.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Sir Francis Drake Facts
- El Draque
- Famous English Explorers
- Mapping Drake’s Route
- It’s Drake!
- Naval Superpowers
- Transatlantic Slave Trade
- Word Callout
- Explorer’s Notebook
- Out of the Ship
- England’s Golden Age
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Link will appear as Sir Francis Drake Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 12, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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