Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral, (c. 1540 – January 27, 1595) was an English privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Queen Elizabeth I awarded Drake knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588, subordinate only to Charles Howard and the Queen herself. He died of dysentery after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1595.
His exploits were legendary, making him a hero to the English but a simple pirate to the Spaniards. He was known as "El Draque". (This name probably originated from the old Spanish meaning "the Dragon" derived from the Latin draco, meaning 'serpent', an obvious play on his family name which in archaic English has the same etymological root). King Philip II was claimed to have offered a reward of 20,000 ducats (about £4m or $8m by modern standards) for his life.
He is famous for (among other things) sailing around the world, returning to England in 1580.
- Cummins, John, Francis Drake: The Lives of a Hero, 1996, Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0312163657