Drake, Sir Francis (15401596)

Drake, Sir Francis, a great English seaman of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, born near Tavistock, in Devon; served in the Royal Navy under his relative, Sir John Hawkins, and distinguished himself with signal success by his valour and daring against the pride of Spain, towards which, as the great Catholic persecuting power, he had been taught to cherish an invincible hatred; came swoop down like a hawk on its ports across seas, and bore himself out of them laden with spoil; in 1577 sailed for America with five ships, passed through the Strait of Magellan, the first Englishman to do it; plundered the W. coast as far as Peru; lost all his ships save one; crossed the Pacific, and came home by way of the Cape—the first to sail round the world—with spoil to the value of £300,000, his successes contributing much to embolden his countrymen against the arrogance of the Catholic king; and he was vice-admiral in the fleet that drove back the Armada from our shores (15401596).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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