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15th December, 1577 started expedition Francis Drake

Francis DrakeOn the 15th of December, 1577 a young sailor, who later became the English knight, Sir Francis Drake sailed from Plymouth in his first expedition. This man went down in history as the first captain of the world expedition, who managed to sail back. It is known that Fernando Magellan was unable to return from his voyage around the world, as he died in the Philippines and his ship brought home other people.

Drake went on an expedition under the order and financial support of Queen Elizabeth I. Travel map shows that his way was from the English city of Plymouth, located in Cornwall to the Pacific coast of America.

According to the official version the main goal was to open new lands, including Australia. In fact, the "Pirate of Her Majesty" had several other goals. First, loot as much gold as possible and battle Spanish colonies in the New World, secondly, pick up the goods with spices on the Indonesian islands, and thirdly, find a northern route to the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean, fourthly go around globe.

Having captured several Spanish galleons on their way to Europe with a rich cargo, sailors crossed the Atlantic. In August 1578 they passed the Strait of Magellan (on the map you will notice that it shares the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and mainland South America). But the storm drifted the ships to the south of Tierra del Fuego, and Drake noticed that Tierra del Fuego is not part of the mainland. Later on a map appeared the Strait named after the Drake, which separates Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.

Only one flagship of all vessels could reach the Pacific Ocean. Drake explored and mapped the Cape Horn. Then sailors headed north along the Pacific coast of America, simultaneously ruining Spanish ports.

In June 1579 Drake decided to go back, but across the Indian Ocean. He passed Africa to the south, and on 26th of September, 1580 expedition returned to Plymouth. However, at home moored only one out of five ships.

Drake became a national hero, which is not surprising. After all, he was able to bring out a myriad of resources, the total amount of which according to some reports was 600 000 pounds, while an annual income of England was 300 000 pounds.

Elizabeth herself knighted the famous pirate. There is a legend that Drake covered his face with a hand when approaching the queen, thus demonstrating that he is blinded by her beauty. Since then soldiers salute by touching the head with a hand.

This Day in History 15-12-2013