Francis Drake


Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540-1596 CE) was an English mariner, privateer and explorer who in 1588 CE helped defeat the Spanish Armada of Philip II of Spain (r. 1556-1598 CE) which attempted to invade the kingdom of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE). Roaming the Atlantic and Caribbean capturing their treasure ships, the Spanish called Drake 'El Draque' ('the Dragon'). Partial to combining exploration with piracy, Drake famously circumnavigated the globe in his ship the Golden Hind between 1577 and 1580 CE. One of England's most celebrated seafarers and idolised in his own lifetime, Drake was witty but sly, generous yet cruel, both audacious and reckless, fiercely patriotic and almost always lucky - in short, the archetypal Elizabethan hero. He died of dysentery in 1596 CE on an expedition to raid the Spanish Main one last time.

More about: Francis Drake


  • c. 1540 - 1596
    Life of the celebrated Elizabethan mariner, privateer and explorer Sir Francis Drake.
  • 1567 - 1568
    John Hawkins and Francis Drake lead an expedition to transport slaves from west Africa to the Spanish West Indies. The fleet is attacked at San Juan de Ulúa.
  • 1572 - 1573
    Francis Drake explores Panama and seizes a Spanish silver mule train.
  • 1575
    Francis Drake is involved in brutally repressing rebellions in Ireland.
  • 1577 - 1580
    Francis Drake circumnavigates the world in his ship the Golden Hind.
  • Mar 1579
    Francis Drake captures the Spanish treasure ship Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (aka Cacafuego).
  • 4 Apr 1581
    Elizabeth I of England knights Francis Drake after his circumnavigation of the globe.
  • 1585 - 1587
    Sir Francis Drake attacks Spanish vessels and ports in the Spanish Main.
  • Apr 1587
    Sir Francis Drake attacks Cadiz.
  • Jul 1588 - Aug 1588
    The Spanish Armada of Philip II of Spain is defeated in its attempt to invade England.
  • 28 Jul 1588
    Francis Drake sends fireships into the Spanish Armada of Philip II of Spain.
  • 29 Jul 1588
    The English fleet attacks the Spanish Armada of Philip II of Spain at the Battle of Gravelines, forcing the Spanish to retreat homewards via the Scottish coast.
  • Apr 1589 - Jul 1589
    The Drake-Norris Expedition (aka English Armada or Don Antonio Expedition) attacks Lisbon and ships of Philip II of Spain. It is not successful.
  • Aug 1595
    John Hawkins and Francis Drake lead an unsuccessful expedition against Spanish ships and settlements in Panama and the Caribbean.
  • 28 Jan 1596
    Sir Francis Drake dies of dysentery at Portobelo, Panama.