Most of these extracts are taken from a book called Purchas his Pilgimes
by Samuel Purchas which was published in 1625. It contains many accounts
of exploration, discovery and famous voyages.
• The account of Drake’s voyage around the world was actually
written by a man called Richard Hakluyt (c1552-1616). He was the first
lecturer on geography and cosmography at Christ Church, Oxford and was
the first person to introduce the use of globes in English schools. He
wrote a number of books on voyages of discovery.
• The other extract comes from a book called The World Encompass’d.
This was written using notes made by Francis Fletcher, a preacher who
made the journey with Drake.
• Drake was born sometime between 1540 and 1543. He was the eldest
of 12 sons. He first went to sea in the 1550s when he was apprenticed
to a master of a small coastal freighter. He later started to sail with
a relative, John Hawkins, and became involved with the slave trade.
• Drake’s primary motive for undertaking voyages was trade,
whether legal or not, and he did become a very wealthy man. However, many
of his journeys took him to uncharted waters and his findings added to
his contemporaries’ knowledge of the world.
• On his voyage around the world he discovered that land to the
south of Tierra del Fuego (as seen when passing through the Magellan Straits)
was not actually another continent and he also claimed part of the West
Coast of America for England.
• Critics of Drake claim that he only decided to sail across the
Pacific because he did not want to run into the Spanish whose ships he
had just plundered or risk losing his treasure trying to get back through
the Strait of Magellan.
• It was still a difficult journey. By the time he reached America,
only the Golden Hind (which had started the journey as the Pelican) was
left. Two ships had had to be destroyed, one had been lost at sea and
one had been forced to turn back. The Golden Hind also ran into difficulties
in the East Indies and had to ditch some of its cargo to escape some rocks.
• When Drake returned he was seen as a hero by many English people.
He was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, had made discoveries
and claimed new land for England and brought back enough treasure to pay
off the national debt.