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Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral (1540 – 27 January 1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the second circumnavigation of the world, from 1577 to 1580. He died of dysentery in January 1596 after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico.

His exploits were legendary, making him a hero to the English but a pirate to the Spaniards to whom he was known as El Draque, 'Draque' being the Spanish pronunciation of 'Drake'. His name in Latin was Franciscus Draco ('Francis the Dragon'). King Philip II was claimed to have offered a reward of 20,000 ducats, about £4,000,000 (US$6.5M) by modern standards, for his life.

Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon, in February or March 1544 at the earliest, when his namesake godfather Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford was but age 17. Although Drake's birth is not formally recorded, it is known that he was born while the Six Articles were in force. "Drake was two and twenty when he obtained the command of the Judith" (1566). This would date his birth to 1544. As with many of Drake's contemporaries, the exact date of his birth is unknown and could be as early as 1535, the 1540 date being extrapolated from two portraits: one a miniature painted by Nicholas Hilliard in 1581 when he was allegedly 42, the other painted in 1594 when he was said to be 53.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Francis Drake."
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