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In Drake's Wake

The Real Francis Drake

Michael Turner

I did not follow Drake around the world because I was mesmerised by his personality but because I was fascinated by what he did. It was often thrilling to find and "see" where dramatic stories unfolded. To a large degree, Drake as a person was somewhat irrelevant. Obviously Drake had to be a remarkable man to achieve what he did, yet Drake receives a wide range of character descriptions. The Victorian author, Sir Julian Corbett, is guilty of hero worship which in some cases distorted the narrative. John Sugden's 1990 biography gave a balanced and objective presentation of Drake's character. Conversely once I read all the books published that lead up to the 400th anniversary of Drake's death in 1996, I realised several authors were trading the success of their books on how they could present Drake as a person. If Drake could be denigrated for the first time, then the author stood a good chance of increasing book sales. Drake the slave trader was a label that stuck firmly amid that of a pirate. The BBC was interested in this savage and inaccurate portrayal of Drake. Drake biographer, John Cummins, heavily condemned Drake on a BBC Radio 2 broadcast on 21 January 1996. On 27 July 1998 I argued with Prof. Harry Kelsey about his negative interpretation of Sir Francis Drake on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. Radio 4 went a stage further on 27 March in 2002 by broadcasting a half hour programme comparing Drake's capture and ransoming of Santo Domingo in 1586 with the actions of the world's most wanted 21st century terrorist. This was sensationalised gutter journalism that was out of character for the BBC and I told them so.

I would like to present the real Sir Francis Drake largely based upon unbiased contemporary accounts written by those who actually met him and narrating some of his actions in chronological order. If I keep my opinions to a minimum and am as judicious as possible in my interpretation, then I should be able to write a powerful and accurate account, so that the reader can easily draw his own conclusion. Sparingly in some of the accounts I have paraphrased for reasons of prose, which does not affect the context.

On the 1556-67 Caribbean voyage, Drake converted a shipmate Michael Morgan to the Protestant faith by teaching him the Paternoster and Creed of the Lutheran Law and the recitation of the Psalms from a book. Hence the young sailor was fired by his zeal for the reformed church and he employed the preaching talents of his father, Vicar Edmund Drake of Upchurch and his own natural eloquence to bring an older man to embrace his simple faith.

Drake in a vainglorious approach was the first person to portray himself for publication in the best possible light for his intended book, by inserting annotations. He presented the manuscript narrating his 1572-73 successful voyage to Nombre de Dios to the queen in the new year of 1592. This was an effort to win her support for another naval commission after the ill-fated English Armada of 1589. The book ultimately called Sir Francis Drake Revived was published in 1626. Drake is guilty of straying from the truth. He writes that when he was wounded and fainted from being shot in the leg, his men loved him so much that they chose to abort the raid on the treasure house and carried him back to the boat. However Drake had attacked the treasure terminus three months after the flotilla would have conveyed the bullion to Spain. Therefore there would have been very little or no silver at Nombre de Dios, when its transient population was at its fewest. For Drake this glaring error based upon poor intelligence would have been too embarrassing to admit. He then writes that whilst recovering from his wound on Bastimentos Island, he was visited by a Spanish envoy despatched from Nombre de Dios. His book states that Francis Drake's name was known to the Spanish settlers in the region. However none of the Spanish sources mention him by name but only refer to the enemy as the English.

Drake expressed his respect for people when plundering the way station on the Camino Real at Venta Cruz. In Sir Francis Drake Revived we read, "our Captain had given straight charge to all the Symerons that while they were in his companie they should never hurt any woman, nor man that had not a weapon in his hand to doe them hurt."

Drake was extremely tenacious. Despite the expedition having suffered serial operational disasters and a great loss of men over eight months, including two of Drake's brothers, Drake did not leave Panamá until he was rich.

Drake showed his compassionate side at the island of Mocha in Chile during the world voyage on 26 November 1578. Drake and his men were attacked by Indians who had assumed the foreigners to be their hated Spanish masters. Despite the fact that several Englishmen were killed, "Our Generall, notwithstanding he might haue reuenged this wrong, with little hazard or danger, yet being more desirous to preserue one of his owne men aliue, than to destroy 100 of his enemies, committed the same to God; wishing this onely punishment to them, that they did but know whom they had wronged; and that they had done this iniurie, not to an enemie, but to a friend; not to a Spaniard, but to an Englishman; who would rather haue beene a patron to defend them, then any way an instrument of the least wrong that should haue beene done vunto them." [The World Encompassed]

Isla de Mocha: Site of the Indians' Ambush

Isla de Mocha: Site of the Indians' Ambush

During the same voyage, it is from captured Spanish prisoners on the west coast of Latin America in 1579 that we first read unbiased accounts about Drake's personality. After the prisoners were released they all had to give testimonies under oath to the Spanish judicial authorities. In 1598 the lengthy, musical poem by Lope de Vega, La Dragontea, describes Drake's "rigour was always tempered with mercy," which was thematic in his dealings with Spanish captives. The Spanish knew Drake to be ruthless yet courteous and refined in manners. Drake would give token gifts to his prisoners after he had robbed them. His generosity can be explained by the fact that he was usually returning some of the stolen goods. Due to absence of jealousy, the Spanish recorded Drake's actions in pleasanter terms compared to those of some of his countrymen, such as Sir Martin Frobisher during the Armada battles of 1588.

Zelia Nuttall transcribed the Spanish documents from the world voyage and wrote that, "Drake inspired men of all nationalities and degrees, who came into personal contact with him, with respect and admiration, which is amply proved by the reports of his prisoners, who can certainly not be accused of being prejudiced in his favour. Their depositions abound with gratuitous records of small acts of kindliness or generosity performed by him, and quotations of the words he uttered. These are sometimes so accurately recorded that they reveal mistakes in the gender of nouns and other blunders such an Englishman, although speaking Spanish fluently, might naturally make."

On 5 February 1579 at Arica in modern day Chile, Drake captured Nicolas Jorge, a Fleming. In his deposition he stated that Drake enquired about the welfare of the Cimarrones in Panamá. If it were not for their help, Drake would not have become rich by attacking the treasure-laden mule trains. Drake said that he loved them, speaking well of them and hoping they were living in peace. "Captain Drake has a very great desire to see them again." This manifested Drake's sense of empathy. Drake was the first white man to work on equal terms with black people.

Early in the morning of 28 February, off Cojimíes, Ecuador, Drake captured the Panamá-bound ship of pilot Benito Díaz Bravo. The Spaniard later assessed his losses at 18,000 pesos in gold and silver and 4,000 pesos in other goods. Drake had customarily freed the Negro slaves and employed them on his ship. When one of them stated that Bravo's clerk, Francisco Jacome had not yielded all the treasure, we see Drake at his worst in pursuit of booty. Jacome stated in his deposition: "As deponent had not hidden anything whatsoever and was unable to reveal anything to them, they hanged him by the neck with a cord as though to hang him outright, and let him drop from high into the sea, from which they fetched him out with the launch." To prevent the Spaniards from spreading the alarm, Drake cast some of Bravo's sails and anchor into the sea. Yet Bravo was relieved, because at one stage it seemed that Drake was going to take his ship that represented his livelihood.

Cape San Francisco

Cape San Francisco

On 1 March 1579, Drake seized the treasure-laden Nuestra Señora de la Concepción with her master Don San Juan de Antón off Cape San Francisco, Ecuador. Drake immediately embraced him. Drake complained to Antón about the treachery meted out by Don Martin Enriquez at San Juan de Ulua, stating he had lost 7,000 pesos and that three hundred Englishmen had been killed. This justified his actions of robbing the Spanish and the money would be divided between his men and himself and the queen. Drake therefore repudiated the charge that he was a pirate and would constantly inform captives of his reasons for vengeance against Don Enrique and Catholic Spain. Drake gave de Antón a firelock saying, "it had been sent to him from Germany and that he prized it highly." Drake cared about the lives of foe and friend. After six days, upon release, Drake gave de Antón a letter of safe conduct in case he should fall in to the hands of Drake's two other ships that he hoped had survived the storms of Tierra del Fuego. Drake charged de Antón with the task of asking the Viceroy of Perú to spare the lives of fellow Englishmen held captive in Lima. Drake showed compassion towards a Negro whom he gave to de Antón. Drake said, "Since thou wishest to go thou canst go with God's blessing, for I do not wish to take anyone with me against his will."

Realejo, modern day Corinto

Realejo, modern day Corinto

Alonso Sanchez Colchero was a pilot with reputed knowledge of the China route, whom Drake captured off Caño Island, Costa Rica on 20 March. Since it was in Drake's interest he did not repeat this philosophy of liberty to the unfortunate Colchero. Drake released all the other prisoners and forced Colchero to pilot him into the Nicaraguan port of Realejo. Colchero apparently knew nothing of the hazardous sandbar. With ruthless brutality Drake tested Colchero's word by twice hanging him from a yardarm by the neck until he was exhausted. He was recovered from the sea and released three days later; without entering the port or revealing the fact that Drake had given him money for his wife and family.

On 4 April 1579, Drake captured the treasure ship commanded by Don Francisco de Zarate near Acajutla in present day El Salvador. Amongst the first words Drake uttered to captive Zarate were, "I am a friend of those who tell me the truth, but with those who do not I get out of humour. Therefore you must tell me how much silver and gold does your ship carry for this is the best route to my favour...Drake told me not to grieve, since my life and property were safe. I kissed his hand for this and having all our sailors called together, he gave each one a handful of reals. He also gave the same to some other men who appeared to him to be the most needy. He is called Francisco Drac and is one of the greatest mariners who sails the seas, both as a navigator and as a commander. He treats his men with affection, and they treat him with respect he calls his council together for the most trivial matter, although he takes advice from no one. But he enjoys hearing what they say and afterwards issues his orders. He has no favourites. None of those who dine with him took a seat or covered his head before him, until he repeatedly urged him to do so. I understood that all the men he carries with him receive wages, because, when our ship was sacked, no man dared take anything without his orders. He shows them great favour, but punishes the least fault. He also carries painters who paint for him pictures of the coast in its exact colours. This I was most grieved to see, for each thing is so naturally depicted that no one who guides himself according to these paintings can possibly go astray...I managed to ascertain whether the General was well liked, and all said that they adored him. This is what I was able to find out during the fifty-five hours I spent with him."

Drake showed Zarate that he had a conscience when he told him why he had executed Thomas Doughty. "All this he told me, speaking much good about the dead man, but adding that he had not been able to act otherwise, because this was what the Queen's service demanded."

Cousin John Drake stated that Francis Drake let de Zarate sleep in his poop deck cabin.

On board was pilot Juan Pascual, who stated that at midday Drake brought on deck an unclothed table. He read from a very large book as the seated crew listened with their hats removed. Some sailors opened their own Bibles. Drake led prayers twice a day. Pascual said, "Drake could be understood because he spoke some Spanish." A quoted example was when Drake asked, "Hacia alli hay agua?" meaning, "Is there water over in that direction?" Drake needed to be shown water, so he took Juan Pascual by force saying that he would hang him if he complained.

Drake's last port of call in Latin America was Guatulco now in México. On 14 April 1579 mayor, Gaspar Vargas, wrote that when, "the prisoners having begged him to restore some of their belongings he had taken from them, he, adopting an arrogant air, gave them to understand by signs, that if they spoke thus he would have them hanged Francis Drake is so boastful of himself as a mariner and man of learning that he told them that there was no one in the whole world who understood the art of navigation better than he. With arrogance he also told the prisoners that it was lucky for them that no soldier had been killed, because he would not have left a man alive and would have pillaged and destroyed this port."

Juan Pascual described Drake's behaviour at Guatulco where he was released. "If the prisoners did not inform Drake of a water supply he would cut their heads off and that he had killed many others and it would be nothing to him to kill them all. And that on Francis Drake's ship all his men trembled before him and when he paced the deck they passed before him trembling, with their hats in hand, bowing to the ground."

Some of this description could be exaggerated since no Spanish captive wanted to show the authorities that they had willingly cooperated with Drake. Drake threatened death to those who would not cooperate; but this was bravado since he would never kill an unarmed, innocent and subdued enemy.

The priest of Guatulco wrote that Drake, "spoke much evil about the Supreme Pontiff. He also expressed his abomination of the Pope in other words of great audacity." Drake had just finished reciting a Psalm when he explained the anti-Catholic illustrations in Foxe's Book of Martyrs. The factor of Guatulco noted Drake's near exact words explaining his attitude towards Spain that would justify his actions for the rest of his life.

"You will now be saying: This man is a devil, who robs by day and prays at night in public. This is what I do, but it is just as when King Philip gives a very large written paper to your Viceroy, Don Martin Enriquez, telling him what he is to do and how he is to govern, so the Queen my Sovereign Lady, has ordered me to come to these parts. It is thus that I am acting, and if it is wrong it is she who knows best and I am not to be blamed for anything whatsoever. But I do regret to possess myself of anything that does not belong exclusively to King Philip or to Don Martin Enriquez, for it grieves me that their vassals should be paying for them. But I am not going to stop until I have collected the two millions that my cousin John Hawkins lost, for certain, at San Juan de Ulua."

Nuño da Silva the Portuguese captive who was with Drake from the Cape Verde Islands until Guatulco wrote that Drake carried three books on navigation including one written in French. Another book was Magellan's Discovery. "Francis Drake kept a book in which he entered his navigation and in which he delineated birds, trees and sea-lions. He is an adept in painting and has with him a boy, a relative his, who is a great painter. When they both shut themselves up in the cabin they were always painting."

During this voyage (1577-80) it must be stressed that not one Portuguese or Spanish life was lost.

The queen charged magistrate and clerk to the Privy Council, Edmund Tremayne with the initial safe keeping of the treasure from the Golden Hind in his fortified residence of Trematon Castle near Saltash. It was after the process of Drake extracting shares for his crew and himself before conveying the remainder to the queen, that we are afforded a glance into Drake's exemplary conduct from Tremayne's pen. He looked upon Drake like a son; he praised Drake's generosity, and fair dealing; he testified to the extraordinary devotion with which his crew were inspired. "His whole course of the voyage," he concluded, "hath shewed him to be of great valour, namely in this discharge of his company, as doth assure me that he is a man of great government and that by the rules of God and his Book. So as proceeding upon such a foundation his doings cannot but prosper." [Corbett, Vol 1]

From 1580 until 1585, Drake began life as a public servant. He continued his pursuit of fairness as a justice of the peace and magistrate. He was twice mayor of Plymouth, a councillor and first citizen. By request from the Plymouth townsfolk he served as town governor. In 1589 Drake fortified Plymouth and St Nicholas Island. In 1590 he was Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Devon. These were not the hallmarks of a pirate but a side of his life often overlooked by biographers.

Lintel from the Elizabethan Mayor's Parlour

Lintel from the Elizabethan Mayor's Parlour

Another striking glimpse into Drake's personality occurred during his occupation of Santo Domingo in January 1586. The factor, Garcia Fernández de Torrequemada who negotiated the ransom payment wrote these observations, "Francis Drake knows no language but English, and I talked with him through interpreters in Latin or French or Italian. He had with him an Englishman who understood a little Spanish and sometimes acted as interpreter. [This is contrary to the assessment by Pascual. It would seem that Drake spoke Spanish at a basic level and needed a translator for intricate situations.] Drake is a man of medium stature, blonde, rather heavy than slender, merry and careful. He commands and governs imperiously. He is feared and obeyed by his men. He punishes resolutely. He is sharp, restless, well-spoken, inclined to liberality and to ambition, vainglorious, boastful, not very cruel."

These observations were repeated by other observers. The aspect of cruelty was written in context of the period after witnessing the most barbaric act of Drake's career, when his anger erupted to the full. Drake sent a black boy with a message under a flag of truce. A Spaniard thrust a lance into the boy's body. The lad staggered back to the city and died at Drake's feet. He constructed gallows in view of the Spaniards and hanged two innocent captive friars. Drake released a fortunate prisoner with a message stating that if the murderer was not punished or surrendered, he would execute two prisoners a day. The offender was hanged by his own countrymen. Maybe with an air of exaggeration, but based on solid sentiment, it was reported in Europe that Drake, "behaved with such humanity to the Indians and Negroes that they all loved him and their houses were open to the English." [Vincenzo Gradenigo, April 1586, cited in Sugden]

Drake's next port of call was Cartagena where he did not just free 200 galley slaves but once the fleet returned to England, he ensured that they were repatriated to Turkey as he had promised. Although Drake never missed an opportunity to make money, he here showed that he had a financial moral conscience. He only accepted ransom payment from a slave owner if the slave wanted to return to his master. Drake had a respect for humanity, "There was also a generall commandement given for the well vsage of Strangers, namely Frenchmen, Turks & Negros." [The Leicester Journal]

At Cartagena, Drake read a letter in which the King of Spain called Drake a pirate. Drake always angrily denied this crude description. A pirate attacked any ship; even those of his own country. A privateer only seized ships of a hostile country. Drake only plundered Spanish and Portuguese ships and usually with the tacit approval of his government. A refined definition would be a privateer. Curiously, I have never found this word in a Spanish dictionary.

Cape San Antonio

Cape San Antonio

In Quinn, we read a poem written in 1589 by Juan de Castellanos, who described Drake after conversing with him in Cartagena. "He is ruddy, gracious in his gestures, Of less than average in height, But well proportioned, A polite courtier in his conversation, Of lively answers and quick wit; In anything he deals with, Particularly in matters of war, He seldom, if ever makes mistakes."

The next anchorage was off Cape San Antonio in Cuba. In a desperate search for water, pits were dug. According to a voyage chronicler, Admiral Drake always showed his humble qualities in caring for his men and ships. Fully clothed and shod, he entered a pit and helped his men fill the buckets. This action was also much admired and recorded by Spanish prisoner, Pedro Sánchez. Therefore despite his fame and immense wealth, Sir Francis never lost touch with the ordinary person.

Due to a medical condition Drake was childless. However he had affection for children. In late 1586, Sir Francis was visiting Nicholas Hayman, MP for Totness and met his son Robert near the house as he walked up the town's long and steep main street. Drake gave Robert an orange. In later life, Robert recounted his moving experience by writing a poem.

On the 1587 voyage to Spain and Portugal we witness the uncollegial side of Sir Francis Drake. After the world voyage, Admiral Drake led the largest fleets England had ever despatched. Therefore the ranks were now more intricate and included some very influential and accomplished men. Sir William Borough who served as Vice-Admiral was a plodding conservative wedded to tradition. He was horrified by Drake's lack of consultation, listening to but ignoring advice and his arbitrary and sudden decision-making in the face of changing circumstances. Borough was rightly angry when ordinary sailors knew more about Drake' plans to capture the Sagres peninsular than he did. However Borough overreacted and Drake deprived him of his command and confined him to his cabin in the Golden Lion. Prompted by hardship and a storm the ship deserted for England against Borough's wishes. Drake was enraged and empanelled a jury. Without hearing any important evidence by the absent defendants, Drake convinced himself that Borough was guilty by incitement or not preventing mutiny. Once home Drake pressed charges against Borough. Drake attended the early stages of the hearing at Burghley's summer palace at Theobalds, at Waltham Cross on 25 July. Drake was deemed to have misinterpreted Borough's letter of complaint and allowed his emotions to override his judgement, which was repeated in an absurd trial of Borough in absentia. There was no evidence that Borough was involved in mutiny but his naval reputation had been damaged by holding back during the attack on Cádiz, objecting to Drake's bold plan to capture the forts on the Sagres peninsula, being unable to quell mutiny and being disassociated with the success of the voyage. Drake never forgave Borough and was disappointed that he escaped punishment for cowardice and insubordination. However justice was served on Borough during the Armada battles; he was far from the front line by being relegated to protecting the River Thames.

Drake was more comfortable with guerrilla warfare as shown on his voyages to the Caribbean Sea and around the world. Drake always needed to lead from the front and not within a team. Drake did not know how to nurture proud subordinates who were his social and professional peers. Drake had inspired devout followers like Thomas Moon, who always sailed with him until he died at Cartagena. Notwithstanding, Drake lacked ability to make all men feel that they mattered.

During the armada battles of 1588, Drake captured Don Pedro de Valdés. He said that if he had to surrender to anyone, he was pleased that it would be to Sir Francis Drake. He then recorded this about Drake: "Felicity and valour were so great that Mars the god of war and Neptune the god of the sea seemed to wait on all his enterprises and whose noble and generous courage had often been experienced by his enemies."

The last voyage of Drake and Hawkins was badly planned and carelessly organised. Compared to the meticulous administrative experience of Sir John Hawkins, Drake had inadequately prepared his half of the fleet, which partially accounted for the ships taking too long to reach Spain's New World. Consequently the element of surprise was lost when Drake pressed for a victualling stop at Grand Canaria. Both commanders were deemed by chronicler Thomas Maynarde to be too old, different in temperaments, which lead to constant bickering. Maynarde a gentleman in Drake's faction wrote of Drake: "A man of greate spirit and fit to undertake matters, In my poore oppinion better able to conduct forces and discreetly governe in conductinge them to places where service was to be done, then to comande in the execution therof. But assuredly his very name was a greate terror to the enemie in all those partes having heretofore done many things in those countries to his honourable fame and profitt. But entringe into them as the childe of fortune it maye be his selfewilled and premptorie command was doubted. And that caused her majestie to joyne Sir John Hawkins in equall commission. A man oulde and warie entringe into matters with so laden a foote, that others meate woulde be eaten before his spit could come to the fire, men of so different natures and dispositions that what the one desireth the other would commonly oppose against." [Andrews, 86] Drake was physically old for his age, partially due to limited mobility caused by back pain. Drake wanted to perpetuate his reputation and to satisfy his ego on the high seas; rather than to retire.

Drake's last opponent was Don Alonso de Sotomayor, who was despatched from Perú to fortify Panamá against Drake's lingering approach. Upon hearing of Drake's death he reported, "one of the most famous men of his profession that have existed in the world, very courteous and honourable with those who surrendered, of great humanity and gentleness, virtues which must be praised even in an enemy." [cited in Sugden] On the contrary many ordinary Spaniards spoke as if the Devil had been slain. Lope de Vega of the holy orders also wrote in his famous La Dragontea that Drake was a coward, brutal and incompetent. These official lies were published to denigrate his memory in the eyes of the Catholic Church in Spain.

Drake's will shows that he left £40 for the poor people of Plymouth.

Soon after Drake's death, contemporary commentator John Stow wrote: "He was more skilfull in all poyntes of Navigation, then any that euer was before his time, in his time, or since his death, he was also of a perfect memory, great obseruation, Eloquent by nature, Skilfull in Artillery, Expert and apt to let blood, and give Physicke vnto his people according to the Climats, hee was Low of stature, of strong limbs, broade Breasted, rounde headed, brown hayre, full Bearded, his eyes round, Large and cleare, well fauoured, fayre, and of a cheerfull countenance.

"His name was terror to the French, Spaniard, Portugal, and Indians, many Princes of Italy, Germany, and others as well enemies as friends in his life time desired his Picturein briefe he was as famous in Europe, and America, as Tamberlaine in Asia, and Africa. In his imperfections hee was Ambitious for Honor. Unconstant in amity. Greatly affected to Popularity. He was fifty & fiue yeeres old when he dyed."

Sir William Monson (1569-1643) was a lieutenant aboard an English ship during these battles and eventually rose to the rank of admiral. In later life Monson wrote his famous Naval Tracts. From his pen we can perceive that he could have met Drake but at least conversed with those close to Drake to write such a detailed account of his personality.

"He would speak much and arrogantly, but eloquently, which was a wonder to many that his education could yield him those helps of nature. Indeed he had four properties to further his gift of speaking, viz. his boldness of speech, his understanding of what he spoke, his inclination to speak, and his use in speaking; and though vain-glory is a vice not to be excused, yet he obtained his fame by his actions, that facility in speaking and that wisdom by his experience, that I can say no more, but that we are all the children of Adam. His friends further say, that his haughty and high carriage is somewhat excusable, when it appears, but not in command, for a general ought to be stern to his soldiers, courageous in his person, valiant in fight, generous in giving, patient in suffering, and merciful in pardoning: and if Sir Francis Drake was to be praised for most of these virtues, let him not be blamed for one vice only."

Drake's personality was partially a sum product of his experiences. He had uniquely risen from the lowest strata of Elizabethan society to the very top. Some of the aristocracy never accepted him as a social equal. This must have made Drake always feel insecure. A letter written to King Philip in 1579 by Don Miguel de Eraso in Panamá from hearsay wrote, "It is a thing that terrifies one, the boldness of this low man, the son of vile parents for it is said that his father was a shoemaker." Therefore Drake had a perpetual need to brag about his achievements, yearn for attention and recognition amongst the great and the good.

Drake's resting place off Portobelo, Panama

Drake's resting place off Portobelo, Panamá

We should judge Drake within the social context of the 16th century: if not, we condemn him for being an Elizabethan. His uncollegial conduct can somewhat be attributed to the immature stage of the formation of the Royal Navy when the process of a court martial had not yet evolved. Some of his profit-seeking drive was a result of the system of which he was a part. Voyages were always funded by merchant adventurers and often augmented by the crown. Drake had to satisfy these two types of investors. For the national interest the military objectives had to be achieved. Sometimes there was a conflict between the two, which made Drake appear more like a privateer than an admiral, such as when he abandoned his hold on the Sagres peninsula in pursuit of a treasure ship. In some areas of conscience towards humanity he was ahead of his time. Many of his characteristics are found in numerous ordinary people of today. Drake's achievements will forever live in English history and in the history of other countries. The 16th-century Spanish soldier, historian, poet and commentator, Juan de Miramontes prophesized: "a captain raised whose glittering memory will last undimmed through future centuries admired and eulogised eternally." Drake's monumental life has spawned hundreds of biographies. The authors need to extol his achievements and of lesser importance, always to give a balanced and objective view of his personality. Drake's type of personality has created his legendary fame.

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