Sir Francis Drake: Pirate or a National Hero???

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When people read the name of Sir Francis Drake, they react differently depending upon their nationalities. He is a national hero for a number of English citizens, but a pirate for the Spaniards.  In the present scenario, the pirate shirts named after him are popular in the fashion world. As a matter of the fact, he was a privateer, who would be a pirate authorized by the governments. The privateer would not be a pirate in the real sense as his major purpose used to be giving benefit to the kingdom and not the personal interest.

Sir Francis Drake was a privateer in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. He was also a navigator, slaver, sea captain and a politician. Moreover, he was also awarded a knighthood by the queen in the year 1581.

Birth, Early Life and Marriage

Tavistock, Devon was the place, where Francis Drake was born. He was the eldest of the 12 children of a protestant farmer named Edmund Drake and his wife Mary Mylwaye. Francis was named after his godfather Francis Russell, who was the 2nd Earl of Bedford. His date of birth was not formally recorded, but according to the tidbits found in some books, he was born in the year 1544. In the year 1549, the family of the Francis fled to Kent from Devon. Here, he was apprenticed to his neighbor by his father, who was the master of barque used for sea trade transporting merchandise to France. The shipmaster was so impressed with Drake that he bequeathed the ship to Drake after his death since he was unmarried and childless. In 1569, Francis married Mary Newman, who died 12 years later. Francis married Elizabeth Sydenham, the only child of Sir George Sydenham in 1585 A.D.

Life at the Sea

Francis made his first voyage to the New World at the age of 23 along with his cousin Sir John Hawkins. Moreover, he also did the circumnavigation of the earth. Many other expeditions are accomplished by her on sea. Apart from all, he was declared as a privateer and got the success in the raid for the rival nations like Spain. Besides, he also took part in the war with Spanish Armada and got the success.

Death

After a lot of sea expeditions, Sir Francis Drake died in the age of 55 because of dysentery in the year 1596.

Negative Aspects

There is no doubt that Drake’s contribution for England was great. But, the fact cannot be denied he had some negative facets also. First of all, engaging in piracy is not supposed to be a good act despite the nationalist reason. This is the reason why privateering was abolished eventually. So, Francis Drake is recognized sea rover in the pirate clothing. Besides, he was also involved in the act of slave trading, which cannot be justified in any case.

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