Francis Drake Facts

Francis Drake

Picture of the explorer Francis Drake

This article on  the biography and life of Francis Drake provides facts and information about:

  • Who was Francis Drake?
  • What was his involvement in the Discovery of America?
  • Drake was the first to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast of South America
  • Life and Biography of Francis Drake
  • Fast information and interesting facts about Francis Drake
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids
Explorers & Discovery of America
American Colonies Index

History of the Famous Explorers and the Discovery of America

The discovery of America and the brave explorers like Sir Francis Drake that led the way for the early colonists

Drake's ship, the Pelican, was re-named as the Golden Hind

The Golden Hind

Facts about Francis Drake
The following Fact File contains fast information about the life of Francis Drake. Interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the Exploration and the discovery of the New World leading to the colonization of America.

Facts about Francis Drake

Francis Drake Fact 1Why was Francis Drake famous and what part of America did he explore? He was the first to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast of South America. Francis Drake stopped to make repairs to his ship in California California 
Francis Drake Fact 2When was Francis Drake born? He was born in 1540
Francis Drake Fact 3What was his country of origin and where was Francis Drake born? He was born in Tavistock, Devon, England
Francis Drake Fact 4He sailed round the world in a small ship that was originally called the Pelican but he re-named his ship the Golden Hind
Francis Drake Fact 5He was a distant relative of Sir Walter Raleigh and the cousin of John Hawkins
Francis Drake Fact 6Francis Drake came from a middle class family, the son of a farmer and preacher, and was educated in various subjects including navigation, astronomy, cartography, mathematics and seamanship
Francis Drake Fact 7Francis Drake was an adventurer. He started his career as a naval officer and followed the lead of his cousin on slave ships bound for Africa and sailed to the Caribbean with his cousin John Hawkins
Francis Drake Fact 8He became a privateer (the Spanish called him a pirate) working on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I attacking Spanish treasure ships
Francis Drake Fact 9In 1577 Queen Elizabeth selected him to be the head of an expedition to search for new trade routes. A voyage that would take 3 years, in which he would sail around the world
Francis Drake Fact 10The expedition, consisted of a fleet of five ships, set sail from Plymouth Sound in Devon, England in 1577
Francis Drake Fact 11His ship was square-rigged, three-masted galleon with18 guns of various sizes
Francis Drake Fact 12The Golden Hind ship was a small 150 ton ship measuring:

Length: 70 feet (21.3 m)

Breadth: 19 feet (5.8 m)

Depth: 9 feet (2.7 m)

Francis Drake Fact 13The expedition consisted of five ships:
  • The Pelican: Francis Drake flagship, later renamed the Golden Hind
  • The Elizabeth: 80 tons, 16 guns - under John Winter
  • The Marigold: 30 tons, 16 guns - under John Thomas
  • The Swan: 50 tons, 5 guns - under John Chester
  • The Christopher: 15 tons, 1 gun under Tom Moone
Francis Drake Fact 14December 13, 1577: The expedition left Plymouth with 5 ships (Pelican, Elizabeth, Swan, Marigold, and Benedict)
Francis Drake Fact 15The number of crew on the 5 ships totalled 164
Francis Drake Fact 16Francis Drake travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to South America, through the treacherous Straits of Magellan, the Pacific Ocean, the coast of California, Vancouver, New Albion, the Philippines, the Spice Islands, Java and round the Cape of Good Hope and on to Sierra Leone.
Francis Drake Fact 17In 1579 he stopped near the present-day San Francisco to repair the Golden Hind. He claimed the land for for England which he called New Albion
Francis Drake Fact 18September 26,  1580:The Golden Hind was the only vessel to return to England 58 men had survived the journey
Francis Drake Fact 19April, 1581: He was knighted "Sir Francis Drake" on board the Golden Hind by Queen Elizabeth
Francis Drake Fact 20Francis Drake married Elizabeth Sydenham in 1585. He was 20 years older than his bride who came from a wealthy, well-connected family. They lived in Devon in a large manor - his house was called Buckland Abbey
Francis Drake Fact 21Later in 1585 Drake travelled to Brazil
Francis Drake Fact 2226 June, 1586 - Drake visited Sir Walter Raleigh's colony headed by Ralph Lane, finding disheartened colonists and hostile Native Indians. He returned to England
Francis Drake Fact 23The following year, in 1587, Drake attacked and destroyed the Spanish Fleet at Cadiz - war between Spain and England was inevitable
Francis Drake Fact 24July 29, 1588: The Spanish Armada consisting of 132 ships sailed for England.
Francis Drake Fact 25Francis Drake was appointed Vice Admiral of the navy. England's navy consisted of only 34 ships and 163 armed merchant vessels
Francis Drake Fact 26A famous legend about Sir Francis Drake was that he insisted on finishing a game of bowls before sailing to meet the Spanish Armada
Francis Drake Fact 27August 8, 1588: The English Navy destroyed the Spanish Armada
Francis Drake Fact 28In 1595 Sir Francis Drake embarked on his last voyage to the Caribbean with Sir John Hawkins (who dies of fever on the voyage). Their aim was to attack Spanish settlements in the West Indies
Francis Drake Fact 29January 28, 1596: Sir Francis Drake died on board his ship of Yellow Fever aged 55. He was buried at sea in a lead coffin off Puerto Bello
Francis Drake Fact 30In 1628 a relative of Sir Francis Drake published the chronicle of the circumnavigation called 'The World Encompassed'

Facts about Francis Drake for Kids

Facts about Francis Drake
This article contains a short biography in a fact file format in date order. Fast facts and information about the life of Francis Drake (1540 - 1596). Who was Francis Drake and why was he famous? When did he explore the New World of America? Which area of America did Francis Drake explore? Read the fact file that provides fast access to interesting facts for kids about the life of this famous explorer and his place in the history of America.

Francis Drake Facts for kids
The life and biography of Francis Drake is presented in a short, easy fact file format that is highly suitable for kids. The facts about  are a fast and accurate way to gain a good understanding of the life of this famous man who played a major role in the Discovery of America. The facts include the major events in the life of Francis Drake together with important dates and details of his family.

Mercator World Map

The Exploration & Discovery of America - The Geradus Mercator World Map

Francis Drake

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