Search the Collections

Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), Admiral and circumnavigator

Sitter associated with 36 portraits
The most famous of all English seafarers, Drake earned his fame and fortune through his skilful seamanship and outstandingly successful piracy. His circumnavigation of the globe from 1577-81 involved a number of very profitable raids on Spanish ships and ports. Drake's increasingly frequent and serious attacks during the 1580s were an important factor contributing to Philips II's decision to launch the Armada against England in 1588. Drake served as vice-admiral of the English fleet which defeated the Armada.