More Light on Drake 1577-80

By E.G.R. Taylor, published May 1930


There were previously several gaps in the understanding of Drake’s famous voyage around the world in the Penguin from 1577-80. These included the identity of the promoters of the voyage, its original purpose and the conduct and integrity of John Winter, who sailed, with Drake, in the Elizabeth. In fact the promoters were the members of the Navy Board, that is Sir William Winter, George Winter and John Hawkins together with the Queen’s close advisers Walsingham, Leicester and Hatton. The intention was a voyage to the South Sea and the Moluccas, coming back by Magellan’s Strait, for peaceful purposes and discovery. Events turned out differently, but subsequent dissensions were between those more inclined to piratical activity against Spain, and those who wished to abide by the law. John Winter’s conduct in turning back for England once separated from Drake in the Straits of Magellan was at the instigation of his crew and not despite it. Winter returned to a favourable reception, having claimed Tierra del Fuego for the Queen. Winter’s own account is printed in full here for the first time.

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Filed under: Tudors | Atlantic | Francis Drake | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

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