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Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake


Sir Francis Drake

Seafarer/Explorer

c1541 - 1596

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Hero...or villain? Ask the Spanish what they thought of Sir Francis Drake, and they'll definitely say "villain."

But Queen Elizabeth I loved him - and you can't blame her, as she was one of the main beneficiaries of his high seas plundering.

In fact, Tavistock's most famous son has been dubbed the Queen's Pirate because of his habit of pinching other people's treasure.

Drake was born in Tavistock some time between 1541 and 1543, and went on to become a daring seafarer.

He first went to sea at the age of just 13, and he successfully circumnavigated the world between 1577 and 1580 on board the Golden Hind - a real achievement in those days.

Only Magellan had done this before - and he had not lived to tell the tale.

Drake's statue on Plymouth Hoe
Drake's statue on Plymouth Hoe
But it wasn't Drake's maritime achievements which endeared him to the Queen - it was the treasure he presented to her after he'd raided Spanish and Portugese ships.

Queen Elizabeth I dined with him on board the Golden Hind, and afterwards, she knighted him - much to the annoyance of the King of Spain.

But then, Drake did a lot to antagonise the Spanish.

He helped to see off the Spanish Armada in 1588, and, according to legend, he even had time to play bowls on Plymouth Hoe while preparing for battle.

He died at sea on his final voyage, off the coast of Panama. He had been suffering from dysentery for several days and in January 1596, he finally died.

His body was placed inside a lead casket and he was slipped overboard.

Historian Harry Kelsey reckons Drake was a "ruthless, arrogant, self-willed, covetous, money-minded, and amoral" man. He goes on to label him a bully and sociopath.

Not that Drake would have cared - his plundering paid for Buckland Abbey his home in Buckland Monachorum, West Devon, which is now run by the National Trust.

And he's still regarded as a hero by Devonians. He was appointed Mayor of Plymouth without being a member of the council, and his statue stands tall and proud in Tavistock and on Plymouth Hoe.


And there's even a replica of the Golden Hind at Brixham Harbour, as an added reminder of Drake's role in helping to expand the British Empire.



Hero or Villain?
A selection of your thoughts

fraser maxwell
NICE SHIP BUT VERY COOL AND VERY VERY CREEPY

Hannah England
i think it depends on where you come from. the English adour him but the spanish hate him. i like him he saved us from the Spanish. He may have done bad things but he did more good thean bad

Meghan WI
I think h was a good man for his country, but not to others. But he was a good man.

Hannah, Colorado
Sir Francis Drake was a great man. To the Spanish, he was horrible, but remember IT WAS FOR ENGLAND!

Stephanie F. from Greenland
I think he was one hot pirate. I mean, did you check out the sexy outfits he wore? Anyway. My point? I don't care if he was mean. HE WAS SEXY.

Thomas Drake
Thank God for Sir Francis Drake or we would all be writting and speaking in Spanish!

rosie
he was a cool type of guy did many things and a matter of fact i have one fact his fame was he was the only man to circumnavigate the globe and he was also one of the finest seaman of all time hey do you know where i cna get info for where he explored?

Georgia-Georgia
I think he was a genuis but a terrible person

Libby- Atlanta, Georgia
Since when does a job justify terrible actions. (I really don't know about Drake; I never met him. From what I can see in his actions, though, he is not my kind of hero.) What I do know is that a hit man should still be arrested for murder, even if it was his job.

Ching Chong Wong Hong Kong
He wasnt a pirate... He was just really god at his job.

K US
I think that he was a cruel mean man. his personality was awful

sarah Fl
Hi, Sir Francis Drake was not mean or cruel he was just a normal pirate going out for gold like pirates do. So basically he was doing his job. I've been working on a re search project and never knew my great....grandfather was so great. But I just don't get how you all think he's mean when you are probably making front of someone right now or at least once tomorrow. So watch it b 4 u talk about a pirate to his granchild.

Michael,Australia
Dear host do you know who Sir Fracis Drke's parents are?

MISTERY CA
I think Sir Francis Drake is mean, rude,and selfish. But he should still be remembered for the good things he has done.

Beth, Leeds
I think Francis Drake was a man who was very thoughtful. He wanted to be rich so he married a rich women... good thinking!!! lol beth

jerry, bewdley
Englands first great naval hero and mariner. English folk of his time owed him thier nationality. We could do with the likes of Drake and Nelson at this time. (Tavistock born and bred)

meg/georgia
I think that he was a horrible person.

Cindy
I think that Sir Francis Drake is diffrent from most people.

Eric, from Camas, WA
It all depends on where you are from and who you side with, whether he was a villan or a hero. If you were Spanish, you would probably consider him a villan.

El_Drake (Spain)
Sir Francis Drake, is a symbol of British supremacy around the world......

Joyce I am from Washington
I think Sir Francis Drake was a brave and smart man. I think this because it is scary to circumnavigate which means to sail around the world and he did it. He was smart because he didn't have school but he taught himself how to read.

annthony
do you have in pictures of him and slaves together

Reply from host: Hi Anthony.We have no access to any additonal pictures of Drake.

maha
i don't really know but i think he was some times a good man and sometimes really cruel. a man who is sometimes really selfish, who does not think of anybody else, who just wants himself to be happy. for some people he was a nice man and for some he had been a cruel man. but after reading about him i also think he was a cruel mann.

Nicolas, Corcelles-Payerne/Switzerland
Quel homme ! A man of his time who marked his era. Interesting to think what would happen if you did the same today... although it's never stopped, people ARE still doing the same things today, its just called something different, like... world trade.

neil . barstaple uk
what about the fortunes he made from being one of the first british slave traders. this is rarely spoken of.

? , CA, 11 years
I think Drake was a man in the middle of the game. He was just following his dreams. I researched him in the fourth grade. I think it depends on the perspective of which you think of it.

John
I thought the name of his ship was the "Golden Hinde", and the Pelican before that?

A. Moore, Devon
I teach in Plymouth, Devon, and often see Sir Francis' statue on the Hoe. He is a very interesting person to learn about. I wonder what my pupils think about him?

nikta canada
i think his a hero and agreat one

Barbara,Kentucky,USA
Ssir Francis is fascinating to me. It is my understanding that he had a brother Thomas, whom he sent off to the new world. I am a descendant of Thomas. I want to know more of their history

missy usa
drake was a very religious man. he worked for the queen by day and served his god the rest of the time. he was incredibly brave and he tried to help all he could. he was also a pirate. he went on a secret mission that has never been told, yet.

Jamie , Canada
I think he sort of seemed like a villan and a hero at the same time!!

keith williams
Great Bowler as well

darren plymouth
drake was a legend and thanks to him plymouth is still british today

linda plymouth
it apperas he was a good man but i cant help but think that every thing he did was because of his own gain and not of the empire or england

R. COX, Aachen, Germany
I think Drake was typical of his age, neither all good or all bad. Rather like people today really!

Jocasta Debleaux- Buckinghamshire
I believe that Sir Francis Drake was a true English man to the core-brave, dashing and a bit of an old charmer. He was frightfully daring and would sail the seven seas without a care in the world-a feat one would normally not even hjave imagined in those days. He drove away the barbaric Spaniards who threatened to invade our fair isle and without hime England would not be England. We salute you, Dear, dear ancestor and say bravo!

ahmad jorden
i think sir francis drake is a cool man

Darci Canada
Bad Man Selfish!

yazmin from CA
I think that Drake was a good man.

Laura, Doncaster
Sir Francis Drake was essentially a privateer. At times his voyages can be cast as piratical. However, overall he contributed to Elizabethan maritime expansion.

georgios koppodopolos, rhodes
ah think he was a great a man, and a am a extremely grateful to thees a great a explorer for inventing de potatoe and de byyeecle

ashleigh coppice
how old was drake when he died

Sophie devon
Sir Francis Drake was a man who loved his money,but he was a very popular man

c-man Canada
Sir Francis Drake was a man that sher loved his money and completley whanted all the land in the world to belong to the U.K I'm doing a project on him and Ifigerd out hes more a pirite than a guy that gets payed to do his stuff. he was no freind with the spanish he hated and killed all the soulders in cadis. he even maroned his owen crew memer John cooke. Sir FRancis Drake was not a good man.

Brooke. OR
Drake had met his goal for traveling around the world. He devoted his life to fight against the Spanish and did a good job doing so. I truly admire him for all he did.

Rachel. OR.
Sir Francis Drake was a honored man. For both his vogage around the world and for being a part of the Spanish Armada. Though he was both feared and treasured, he was a good man at heart.

Rachel Headlee, Iowa
I think Sir Francis Drake is a wonderful man and he was never a villin. He was only trying to avenge his parents's death.

Taylor Ontairo
Sir Francis Drake was a perverbial thorn in the side of the Spanish armada

Elizabeth, CA
I think he was brilliant. Piracy funded by the crown is no piracy at all - just stealing.

Des, Devon
A Great mariner: only surpassed in greatness by Lord Horatio Nelson (Norfolk born & bred).

leah connecticut
sir francis drake is good!

claire west mids
i think he is a very popular man and he is generous and kind.


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