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Collection Sir Francis Drake (Kraus Collection)


Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the earth from 1577-1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. This timeline highlights important dates corresponding to Drake’s voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas.


  1. 1543(?)

    Sir Francis Drake born.

  2. 1553

    Richard Eden publishes A Treatyse of the Newe India. First book in England to describe the new geographical knowledge.

  3. 1554 July 25

    Reign of King Philip II of Spain.

  4. 1558

    Queen Mary Tudor dies and Philip's title as King of England lapses. Elizabeth Tudor becomes Queen of England at the age of 25.

  5. 1562

    John Hawkins, Drake's cousin, embarks on a slave trade expedition to West Africa and West Indies.

  6. 1566-1567

    Drake sails with Captain Lovell to the Caribbean on a slave trading enterprise.

  7. 1567 October 2

    Drake sails with John Hawkins to New World where they are trapped by Spanish fleet that attacks and kills 500 Englishmen. Drake narrowly escapes on the Judith.

  8. 1570-71

    Drake sails to the West Indies.

  9. 1571

    William Cecil named Lord Burghley, (1520-1598). Elizabeth's chief minister from her accession until his death in 1598.

  10. 1572-73

    Drake sails again to the West Indies. Plans to capture important town of Nombre de Dios, but was wounded in the attack. He later joined forces with Guillaume Le Testu on a mule train and made off with L 20,000 in gold and silver.

  11. 1577-80

    Drake sails around the world in the Golden Hind, is the First Englishman to do so.

  12. 1578

    Thomas Doughty, an officer on the circumnavigation voyage and Drake's personal friend was charged with conspiracy and hanged.

  13. 1579 February 15

    On the circumnavigation, the Golden Hind reaches Callao, the harbor of Lima, Peru.

  14. 1579 March 1

    Drake overtakes the Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, nicknamed, Cacafuego. This ship proved to be Drake's richest plunder.

  15. 1579 June-July

    Drake discovers the coast of Upper California and names it New Albion. Drake stops in what is now the vicinity of the San Francisco Bay to overhaul his ship and makes friendly contract with the Indians of the area.

  16. 1579 July 23

    Drake sails across the Pacific.

  17. 1579 October 16

    Drake sights land in the Philippines.

  18. 1579 November 3

    Lands at Ternate in the East Indies. Makes a treaty with the Sultan and buys a cargo of cloves.

  19. 1580 January

    Drake sails to Java, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and arrives back in Plymouth on September 26.

  20. 1581

    Francis Drake is knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

  21. 1581

    Drake buys the first of his Devonshire estates, Buckland Abbey.

  22. 1581

    Sir Francis Drake becomes mayor of Plymouth.

  23. 1584-85

    Drake serves as a member of parliament for Plymouth.

  24. 1585

    Drake raids and destroys many Spanish settlements in the Caribbean.

  25. 1587

    On the orders of Queen Elizabeth, Drake attacks, and destroys, the Spanish Fleet at Cadiz.

  26. 1589

    The Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex sailed with the expedition commanded by Drake and Norris against Spain and Portugal. Although Elizabeth's favorite for many years, he finally led an insurrection against her, and was executed.

  27. 1592/3 New Year's Day

    Drake presents Queen Elizabeth with manuscript with text the basis of which was later published as "Sir Francis Drake Revived." 1592/93.

  28. 1595

    Queen Elizabeth sends Drake and Hawkins to attack Spanish settlements in the West Indies, (Porte-Rico).

  29. 1596 January 28

    Drake dies of dysentery on the return journey after failing to capture Panama City.

  30. 1603 March 24

    Queen Elizabeth dies.