30th October 1580.
In 1967 Francis Chichester was knighted at Greenwich with Sir Francis Drake’s sword, after his circumnavigation of the world.
It was Today in 1580 that the privateer Drake completed his global voyage having started out on December 13th three years previously. 56 of the original crew of 81 remained.
Drake’s intention, with Queen Elizabeth’s backing, had been to force England into conflict with Spain by his plundering of Spanish treasure ships and possessions in South America.
It was this along with raids on Spanish harbours in Europe that all played their part in driving Spain to the Armada 11 years later.
On Drakes’ return he was presented, by the Queen with what we know as the The Drake Jewel (above), which shows on the right side a miniature by Nicholas Hilliard with a phoenix underneath.
On the left is an intaglio cameo in Sardonyx of an African male superimposed on a profile of an European. The Jewel is symbolic of a conjoint effort of Africa and England to liberate the world from Spain.
Most of our trade was with Europe and Africa, but importantly Spain was blocking our access to the New World.
Drake’s flagship, the Golden Hind, was originally named the Pelican to be changed after Drake had his second-in-command, Thomas Doughty beheaded, bizarrely for witch-craft and because of complex political machinations, for treason.
The execution created a political problem because Doughty had been secretary to Sir Christopher Hatton a major shareholder in the expedition and a man high in Queen Elizabeth’s favour.(1)
So Drake solved the problem by flattery, for the crest on Hatton’s coat of arms was ‘a hind statant or’, ( a standing golden female deer without antlers), thus the Golden Hind.
In 1582 Drake bought the old Cistercian Buckland Abbey from Richard Grenville, Captain of the Revenge, a cousin of Raleigh, the year he became Mayor of Plymouth.
Drake’s full-length statue stands on a polished pink granite pedestal on Plymouth Hoe. By Sir J.E. Boehm Bt. RA (1885). A pedestal panel shows Drake at bowls.
It is a replica of one south of Tavistock near Crowndale Farm where he was born.
It was from the time of Drake, owing to its geographical situation, that Plymouth became an important naval base for the conflict with Spain.
(1) Christopher Hatton was Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners 1572, the Queen’s Personal Bodyguard and profited by £2,300 by Drake’s circumnavigation. He died in poverty at Ely Palace and was buried in the Old St Paul’s. His funerary monuments were destroyed along with the cathedral in the fire of 1666.
wikipedia.org/Pic of Golden Hind.
wikimedia commons/Pic of Drake.