Sir Francis Drake’s Ship, the Golden Hind

Between the years of 1577 through 1580, a sea captain named Sir Francis Drake sailed worldwide on an English ship called the Golden Hind (or to some the Golden Hinde). The Golden Hind was also referred to as the Pelican, but Sir Francis Drake decided to rename the ship in 1578 when he was sailing into the Strait of Magellan.

It is said that he decided to rename the ship the Golden Hind, because his partner and captain, Sir Christopher Hatton, was fond of the female deer, which is a golden ‘hind’. Christopher was the main backer of Sir Francis’s worldwide sailing trip, so it was in some way a thank you to his patron.

Sir Francis Drake’s Ship

Circumnavigating the World on the Queen’s Command

Elizabeth I of England selected Sir Francis Drake in 1577 to be the captain and commander of a very special voyage. The voyage was to go around South America and head straight through the Strait of Magellan, so they could explore the coast there. Sir Francis Drake had already received approval for the voyage from the queen, because it would benefit her as well as Sir Francis Drake. He would also cause havoc to the Spaniards on his way. This voyage is actually what led to the Spanish and Anglo war in 1588.

Sir Francis Drake had a meeting with the queen, and this was the first time he had ever met her. The queen told him that it would be okay to cause havoc on Spain’s king, giving him permission as a privateer to take the spoils of his successes against Spanish ships.

Sir Francis started his voyage in December of 1577 with five ships and 164 crewmembers. They reached Brazil’s coastline in 1578 within the early spring. The Pelican or Golden Hinde was able to carry one hundred tons. In 1579, on March 1st off the Ecuador coast in the Pacific the Golden Hind captured the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which was a Spanish ship. The ship contained one of the biggest treasures ever as it had over 360,000 Pesos, and other gold. It took the Golden Hind six days to haul six tons of treasures captured from the ship.

In 1580, on September 26th, Sir Francis headed into Plymouth Harbour. He allowed 56 of the crew to go ashore while the remaining 80 crew members stayed on the ship. Queen Elizabeth went on the Golden Hind, because it was docked at Deptford, Thames Estuary. She may not have believed in his pirate practices, but decided to make him a knight.

He gave the queen nearly 160,000 Pesos. This would allow her to pay her foreign debt and still have over 40,000 left, which she planned on investing for Levant. For every dollar invested by the queen, she got nearly 5,000% returned.

Sir Francis’s voyage was so successful that the Golden Hind was a public exhibit in Deptford. It remained there for almost a hundred years until it just rotted away, and the queen had it removed. There is a replica of the Golden Hind in London, so tourists and visitors can see what the Golden Hind was like.