Francis Drake

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    undo
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    Francis Drake

    Post by undo on Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:30 am

    At age 23, Drake made his first voyage to the Americas, sailing with his second cousin, Sir John Hawkins, on one of a fleet of ships owned by his relatives, the Hawkins family of Plymouth. In 1568 Drake was again with the Hawkins fleet when it was trapped by the Spaniards in the Mexican port of San Juan de Ulúa. He escaped along with Hawkins.

    Following the defeat at San Juan de Ulúa, Drake vowed revenge. He made two voyages to the West Indies, in 1570 and 1571, of which little is known.

    In 1572, he embarked on his first major independent enterprise. He planned an attack on the Isthmus of Panama, known to the Spanish as Tierra Firme and the English as the Spanish Main. This was the point at which the silver and gold treasure of Peru had to be landed and sent overland to the Caribbean Sea, where galleons from Spain would pick it up at the town of Nombre de Dios. Drake left Plymouth on 24 May 1572, with a crew of 73 men in two small vessels, the Pascha (70 tons) and the Swan (25 tons), to capture Nombre de Dios.

    His first raid was late in July 1572. Drake and his men captured the town and its treasure. When his men noticed that Drake was bleeding profusely from a wound, they insisted on withdrawing to save his life and left the treasure. Drake stayed in the area for almost a year, raiding Spanish shipping and attempting to capture a treasure shipment.

    In 1573, he joined Guillaume Le Testu, a French buccaneer, in an attack on a richly laden mule train. Drake and his party found that they had captured around 20 tons of silver and gold. They buried much of the treasure, as it was too much for their party to carry. (An account of this may have given rise to subsequent stories of pirates and buried treasure.) Wounded, Le Testu was captured and later beheaded. The small band of adventurers dragged as much gold and silver as they could carry back across some 18 miles of jungle-covered mountains to where they had left the raiding boats. When they got to the coast, the boats were gone. Drake and his men, downhearted, exhausted and hungry, had nowhere to go and the Spanish were not far behind.

    At this point Drake rallied his men, buried the treasure on the beach, and built a raft to sail with two volunteers ten miles along the surf-lashed coast to where they had left the flagship. When Drake finally reached its deck, his men were alarmed at his bedraggled appearance. Fearing the worst, they asked him how the raid had gone. Drake could not resist a joke and teased them by looking downhearted. Then he laughed, pulled a necklace of Spanish gold from around his neck and said "Our voyage is made, lads!" By 9 August 1573, he had returned to Plymouth.
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    Nick
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    Re: Francis Drake

    Post by Nick on Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:35 am

    Sailing ain't what it used to be!
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    Re: Francis Drake

    Post by Bruegel on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:46 am

    good to hear the j/k double-post was the hard-sailer's ballbuster of choice, bitd
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    Bruegel
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    Re: Francis Drake

    Post by Bruegel on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:53 am

    reading spanish and english biographies of SFJ is an interesting exercise in the subjectivity of history

    slave-trading pirate-cum-globe-trotting war hero

    edit: i was in Plymouth briefly on Saturday and its a shithole
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    raj gibson
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    Re: Francis Drake

    Post by raj gibson on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:35 pm

    Bruegel wrote:good to hear the j/k double-post was the hard-sailer's ballbuster of choice, bitd
    A few sharp-eyed crew members had an idea of what to expect after noticing that shortly before he arrived he changed his mood to
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    Re: Francis Drake

    Post by chrondog on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:12 pm

    coincidentally, i hurried through the first 150 pages or so of Gavin Menzies' 1421: The Year China Discovered the World at work today because one of my coworkers was reading it. i enjoyed the review of the history of the Ming treasure ships, but as soon as he started to bring in the "evidence" of the Korean Kangnido map, everything ran off the rails and i put it down. i had to read a few scholarly take downs of the book to get my head back on straight. one interesting and actually historical find that came out of that quick read was Ma Huan's "The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores". Ma Huan was an official historian on many of Zheng He's voyages and wrote amazing, first person accounts of his travels with the Chinese in Indonesia, Indian, Persia and Eastern Africa. Read it here: http://faculty.washington.edu/qing/huan_ying-yai_sheng-lan%5B1%5D.pdf

    I was also pleased to find that a professor I took an introductory Chinese history class at UCLA with had an interesting take on Zheng He overall:

    At the conclusion of Jin Wu's talk, Richard von Glahn (UCLA Professor of History, and a specialist in Chinese history) offered some comments. First, von Glahn mentioned that he teaches world history, and that all world history texts mention Zheng He. The problem with these texts, von Glahn continued, is with the presentation. The tendency is to offer counterfactual arguments; in other words, to emphasize "China's missed opportunity." The "narrative emphasizes the failure" and pays insufficient attention to what was accomplished.

    In a word, von Glahn continued, "Zheng He reshaped Asia." Maritime history in the fifteenth century is essentially the Zheng He story and the effects of Zheng He's voyages. For instance, Malacca, on the Malayan peninsula, and Zheng He's most important port after those in China, in the fifteenth century became the great port and hub of a trading network that extended across Southeast Asia and up to China.

    Von Glahn emphasized that Zheng He's influence lasted beyond his age. Zheng He, von Glahn suggested, may be seen as the tip of an iceberg: He was prominent, but there is much, much more to story of maritime trade and other relationships in Asia in the fifteenth century and beyond. The conferences that Professor Jin Wu is planning in conjunction with the 600th anniversary of Zheng He's first voyage will, von Glahn stated, show this.
    this is all a long way of saying that history is still what really fascinates me, maritime history is fantastic and the history of colonialism is one of the most interesting subjects of all time!

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