1902 Encyclopedia > Geography > English Circumnavigators. Sir Francis Drake. Thomas Cavendish. Sir Richard Hawkins.

(Part 25)

English Circumnavigators. Sir Francis Drake. Thomas Cavendish. Sir Richard Hawkins.

The maritime enterprise of England, in the days of Elizabeth, was mainly directed towards the discovery of a north-west passage; but many voyages were also made to Guinea and the West Indies, and twice English vessels followed in the track of Magellan, and circumnavigated the globe.

In 1577 Francis Drake, who had previously served with Hawkins in the West Indies, undertook his celebrated voyage round the world. His fleet consisted of three ships and two pinnaces, which were broken up during the voyage. The ships were the "Pelican" of 100 tons, on board of which Drake himself embarked, the "Elizabeth" of 80, and the "Marigold" of 30 tons. After some stay at "Marigold" of 30 tons. After some stay at Port San Julian on the coast of Patagonia, the fleet entered the Straits of Magellan on the 20th of August 1578, when Drake changed the name of his ship to the "Golden Hind." They reached the western entrance on the 6th of September, and soon afterwards the "Marigold" parted company in a gale of wind, and was never heard of again, while the "Elizabeth" basely deserted he consort and returned to England. Drake, in the "Golden Hind," continued the voyage alone. At first he was driven to the southernmost point of Tierra del Fuego, and thus discovered that there was a passage, though he did not round Cape Horn. He then proceeded northward along the west coast of America, touching at the island of Mocha off the Chilian coast, at Valparaiso, Coquimbo, Tarapaca, Arica, Callao, and Payta. Off Cape San Francisco, nearly on the equator, he captured a very rich Spanish treasure-ship called the "Cacafuego"; and it is right to observe that England was then at peace with Spain. Drake resolved to attempt the discovery of a passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and with this object he continued to shape a course northwards along the American continent. On the 5th of June 1579 the "Golden Hind" reached her most northern point in 48º, when the attempt was abandoned, and Drake put into a harbour to refit, named Port Drake, which appears to have been the modern harbour of San Francisco, on the coast of California. The coast from the southern extremity of the Californian peninsula to cape Mendocino was discovered by Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo and Francisco de Ulloa in 1539. Drake’s discoveries extend from cape Mendocino to 48º N.

Leaving California, Drake sailed across the Pacific and reached the Philippine islands in October. He touched at Ternate and Java, and rounded the Cape of Good Hope on June 15, 1580. The "Golden Hind" anchored safely at Plymouth on the 26th of the following September. Drake was graciously received and knighted by the queen, and the "Golden Hind," the first English ship that circumnavigated the globe, was preserved for many years at Deptford. When at last she was broken up, a chair was made from one of her planks and presented to the university of Oxford,

Mr Thomas Cavendish, a gentleman of Suffolk, emulous of Drake’s example, fitted out three vessels for an expedition to the South Sea, and sailed from Plymouth on July 21, 1586. Cavendish passed through Magellan’s Straits in January 1587, and, taking the same route as Drake along the west coast of America, he reached Mazatlan in September. A rich Spanish treasure-ship was captured off cape San Lucas, the southern extremity of California, on the 4th of November, and Cavendish then steered across the Pacific, seeing no land until he reached the Ladrone Islands. He arrived safely at Plymouth on the 9th September 1588.

The third English voyage into the Pacific was not so fortunate. Sir Richard Hawkins sailed from Plymouth on the 12th of June 1593 in the good ship "Dainty," passed through Magellan’s Straits, and all went well until they reached the bay of Atacames, 57 miles north of the equator, in June 1594. here the English were attacked by a Spanish fleet, and, after a desperate naval engagement, Hawkins was forced to surrender. Hawkins declared his object to be discovery and the survey of unknown lands, and his voyage, though terminating in disaster, bore good fruit. The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins in his Voyage into the South Sea, published in 1622, are very valuable, and form the most charming work of the work of the kind which was written during that period. It was long before another English ship entered the Pacific Ocean. Sir John Narborough took two ships through the Straits of Magellan in 1670 and touched on the coast of Chili; but it was not until 1685 that Cook and Dampier sailed over the part of the Pacific where, nearly a century before, the "Dainty" had to strike her flag to the Spaniard.

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