Sir Francis Drake


Captain Kidd


  In 1572, Drake sailed to Panama and captured from the Spanish 34 tons of silver ingots, which he brought back to England. Eight years later, he became the second man to sail around the world, for which feat Queen Elizabeth I knighted him aboard his famous ship, the Golden Hind. On that circumnavigation of the globe he had attacked Spanish settlements and ships on the Pacific coast of South America. By honoring Drake for attacking the Spanish on both the Atlantic and Pacific and adding Spanish wealth to the English treasury, Queen Elizabeth was encouraging other young English seamen to become privateers.
  In 1585, he set out with a large fleet of 25 ships and 2,300 men to cross the Atlantic and attack Spanish ports, hoping to weaken England's rival and cut off her supply of gold and silver. He attacked and subdued Santo Domingo in the present-day Dominican Republic and then the port of Cartagena in Colombia. On his way back to England, he sailed slowly along the coast, looking for any Spanish fort from which the Spanish could send ships and troops to attack Sir Walter Raleigh's English settlement at Roanoke, Virginia.
  Drake had with him a Portuguese pilot who willingly helped the English because of the Portuguese dislike of the Spanish. That man told Drake that the Spanish had established a fort at St. Augustine where they had slaughtered the French in 1565, first in their fort at Fort Caroline in the St. Johns River and then at Matanzas below St. Augustine after the French ship Trinite had shipwrecked along the coast during a storm.
  Drake and this men had their first clue  to the location of St. Augustine when they spied a beacon tower standing tall on four masts on the beach on Anastasia Island. Drake landed with his men and marched along the river that led to the town. Three of his men boarded a small rowing skiff and scouted the area, but could not find any Spaniards. Then they heard something that completely unnerved them, but then gave them great hope: a fifer playing a tune that everyone in those days recognized as a very anti-Spanish tune. If they could find the person playing that fife, they knew they would find a person who might hate the Spanish as much as they did.
Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake's flagship, the Golden Hind, captures a Spanish galleon loaded with gold in 1579.
The fifer turned out to be Nicholas Borgoignon, a Frenchman who had been a prisoner of the Spanish for six years but who had recently escaped. With his help, Drake and his troops found St. Augustine and made plans to sack it. They found the newly built fort that consisted of  huge, upright tree trunks. On top was a platform with 14 brass cannon standing side by side. They also found a chest full of the garrison's pay, worth about 2,000 English pounds. Nowhere in sight were any of the 150 soldiers who were supposed to be defending the fort. Nor were there any townspeople in the small town that had grown up near the fort. In their haste to flee the English, the Spanish actually left behind in the fort a small child. The English handed the child over to the Spanish, unwilling to ransom her or take her back to England.
  The quit of the fort was suddenly broken with sniper shots fired by the Spanish from nearby trees. Anthony Powell, who was second in command of the English infantry, found a Spanish horse already saddled and rode off in pursuit of the snipers. The Spanish marksmen took aim and shot him down. When he fell, the Spanish descended on him and finished him off with several sword thrusts before the English troops could reach him. Drake would not allow any more of his men to seek out the hiding Spanish, but instead had his troops destroy the fort and settlement after gathering those tools and implements which Drake could take back to English colonists up the coast in Virginia. He also took a dozen cannons. Drake did not have his troops destroy the nearby Indian village, perhaps on the chance that the Indians might aid the English in the future.
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  1586 Sir Francis Drake of England spots the lookout tower and burns St. Augustine.

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