Francis Drake's circumnavigation

1577 trip by the English explorer Belligerents :Spain EnglandCommanders and leaders Francisco de Toledo Francis DrakeStrength Various ports & shipping 5 ships
164 men and boysCasualties and losses 13 ships captured & plundered
12 merchants ships run aground
5 settlements plundered 1 ship lost
2 ships scuttled
103 dead

Francis Drake's circumnavigation, also known as Drake's Raiding Expedition, was an important historical maritime event that took place between 15 December 1577 and 26 September 1580. Authorised by Queen Elizabeth:I and led by Francis Drake; the latter sailed with five ships in what was termed a 'voyage of discovery', although in effect it was an ambitious covert raiding voyage and the start of England's challenge to Spain's global domination.

Drake set off after a delay of nearly six months on 15 December 1577. After crossing the Atlantic he passed Cape Horn and became the first Englishman to navigate the Straits of Magellan and travelled up the west coast of South America reaching the Pacific Ocean in October 1578. Due to losses by storms and disease, only two ships remained, one of which was the Golden Hind. Drake then plundered Spanish ports and took a number of Spanish treasure ships including the rich galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. After continuing north, hoping to find a route back across to the Atlantic, Drake sailed further up the west coast of America than any European and landed in present-day California, claiming the land for England and naming it New Albion.

Unable to find a passage, Drake turned south in the lone Golden Hinde and in July 1579 sailed west across the Pacific. His travels took him to the Moluccas, Celebes, Java, and then round the Cape of Good Hope and finally the western tip of Africa. Drake arrived back in England in September 1580 with a rich cargo of spices and Spanish treasure and the distinction of being the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Seven months later, Queen Elizabeth knighted him aboard the Golden Hind, much to the annoyance of the king Philip II of Spain. As a result, the voyage was one of the precursors to the Anglo–Spanish War.

Drake was not only the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, but also the first person to lead an entire circumnavigation; the only previous such voyage, Magellan's circumnavigation, was taken over by Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano following Magellan's death.


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