Was he the ‘Master Thief of the Unknown World’?

In 1577 five ships called the Pelican, the Elizabeth, the Marygold, the Christopher and the Swan left Plymouth Harbour. On board were Francis Drake and just over one hundred and sixty other men. Most of the men aboard the ships thought they were sailing to Egypt. It was only when they reached Africa that Drake told them they were heading for the Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Magellan. Many of the men were frightened as they knew that this would be a very dangerous voyage. In fact, when Drake returned three years later, only one ship, the Pelican now known as the Golden Hind, had survived. Many people thought that Drake was a hero for managing to sail around the world but some thought that he was a pirate or a ‘Master Thief’.

You can make your own mind up by looking at the documents contained in the following case studies: Voyage of Plunder? and Voyage of Discovery?

Let’s investigate!

Go to Case Study 1Go to Case Study 2