Definition of Francis Drake from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Francis Drake

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(c. 1540-96) an English sailor who fought against the Spanish and was the first Englishman to sail around the world. After a career attacking and robbing Spanish ships in the Caribbean, he was given five ships by Queen Elizabeth I to sail around the world, attacking Spanish ships along the way. When he returned three years later (1580) in the only surviving ship, the Golden Hind, Queen Elizabeth made him a knight.In 1587 the Spanish were preparing to attack England, but Drake led a surprise attack on the port of Cadiz and burnt the Spanish ships. When the Spanish attack, known as the Armada, finally came in 1588, Drake was one of the leaders who defeated it. There is a popular story that he was playing bowls when the Armada was first seen and that he calmly finished his game before turning his attention to the enemy.