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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > Christmas 2017 > Great Adventures: Francis Drake’s circumnavigation

Great Adventures: Francis Drake’s circumnavigation

Pat Kinsella follows Sir Francis Drake around the world on a swashbuckling, fortune-making, globe-trotting gallivant that incensed the Spanish and established the fearsome reputation of the Virgin Queen’s favourite dragon
PRIVATEER OR PIRATE? Drake set off from Plymouth on his famous Golden Hind – then known as Pelican – armed with a ‘letter of marque’ that would allow him to attack Spanish ships legally
MABTRIIODNGEHMEARNE IMAGES X2, GETTY X2

“It isn’t that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better” Francis Drake

Revered as a hero in his home country, and reviled as a pirate in Spain, Francis Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the planet, cruising along the coasts of Europe, Africa, South and North America, and Asia during an epic three-year adventure between 1577 and 1580.

Drake’s fleet stop at Santiago, Cape Verde

The Devonshire-born sailor’s orbit of the globe was the second such journey ever accomplished, after the fateful first round-theworld expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan over 50 years earlier, which the Portuguese explorer personally failed to survive. Drake’s voyage was no less eventful, but the captain not only came back from his extraordinary escapade alive, he returned enriched with a titanic reputation and almost unimaginable wealth, having spent much of the journey in greedy pursuit of Spanish booty.

A replica of the Hind now floats Golden in Devon’s Brixham Harbour

The success of the voyage contributed to Drake’s elevation to high command during the subsequent war with Spain, when he cemented his lofty place in history by helping to beat the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines, allegedly after finishing off a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe first.

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About History Revealed

When we began thinking of how best to celebrate our 50th issue, we thought it would be great to look at the turning points in history, to pick which decisions had the greatest impact on the world. But as we started to come up with a list of key moments, it soon became clear that this was a herculean task; we were going to need some help. A few phone calls and emails later, we had assembled a panel of experts including some of the most respected and popular historians, writers and broadcasters in the land. We quickly realised it’s not possible to define the single biggest decision in history – how could anyone? – but the variety of responses we had illustrated the vast richness of history. So, from Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, to Decca Records choosing to pass on the Beatles, we present 50 decisions that, for better or worse, have shaped our world. Before I let you go, I’d like to thank all of our readers most sincerely for your support since we launched – here’s to the next 50 issues!
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