Did you know that Sir Francis Drake was an explorer, naval captain, and privateer? A privateer is someone who receives permission from a government to attack and steal cargo from ships that belong to another country. Queen Elizabeth I gave Sir Francis Drake permission to attack and plunder ships from Spain, a country they were at war with. In 1580 Sir Francis Drake became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the Earth. The journey took 3 years, partly because he had been given orders to harass and plunder treasure from the Spanish colonies he encountered on the way!
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On September 26, 1580, Sir Francis Drake and his crew returned to England after a 3 year journey circumnavigating the Earth. In 1577, he was dispatched by Queen Elizabeth I, to harry and plunder Spanish colonies in the new world. Drake returned to England with a cargo of Spanish treasure and spices from the Indies. The queen owned half of the cargo; the value of that half-share surpassed the rest of the Queen’s income for that entire year!
The queen awarded Drake with a knighthood and a jewel. The jewel had a portrait of Elizabeth I carved on it. It is called the Drake Jewel and is displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Sir Francis Drake also helped protect England when the Spanish Armada threatened. He destroyed or captured enemy ships and provisions.
Sir Francis Drake also served as the Mayor of Plymouth and as a member of Parliament.
Sir Francis Drake’s home Buckland Abby belonged to his family for generations. Now it is maintained by the National Trust and serves as a museum.