In our new series on Famous English Travellers, we will present to you some important English personalities from the past who have made a crucial contribution to our knowledge by their travels. We hope you will enjoy our small history excursion!

Sir Francis Drake

The first Englishman who circumnavigated the world


Born Feb 1540 in Tavistock, Devon

Died 27 Jan 1596


Vice Admiral, Sea Captain, Navigator, Politician


Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake knighthood in 1581 upon his return from the expedition against the Spanish, which Elizabeth I of England had commissioned.

Queen Elizabeth With Sir Francis Drake And knights On The Deck Of The Golden Hind by Jean Leon Huens

Special Achievements:

Became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world (1577-1580)


  • 1563 – Drake travelled to Africa and sold people in Sierra Leona as slaves to Spanish settlers in the Caribbean
  • 1567 – Successfully attacked Spanish ships
  • 1572 – Seized gold and silver in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean
  • Drake also travelled to the West Indies, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, California, Java, through the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope.
  • Upon his return of the circumnavigation of the world, Drake became mayor of Plymouth and was a Member of Parliament.

Cultural Impact:

  • Drakes Bay and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard of Marin County, California are both named after him.
  • In Devon, there are various places after him, especially in Plymouth, where a roundabout has been named Drake Circus.



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