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The First CircumnavigatorsUnsung Heroes of the Age of Discovery$
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Harry Kelsey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217780

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217780.001.0001

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Following The Leader

Following The Leader

(p.128) Five Following The Leader
The First Circumnavigators

Harry Kelsey

Yale University Press

The discovery of the return route to New Spain meant that it was no longer necessary for mariners and explorers to risk the treacherous seas and storms of the globe-circling route used by the Spanish commanders. Nonetheless, two English sea captains followed their lead in crossing the Pacific from east to west and sailing home around the Cape of Good Hope. This chapter describes the voyages of these two English sea captains: Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish. Drake's fleet looted and burned its way around the world in a three-year voyage that began in November 1577. He returned home on September 26, 1580 with one ship and a couple of dozen men. Despite his losses, Drake had become rich beyond imagination. Drake shared his booty with Queen Elizabeth and she gave him a knighthood in return. Drake's success prompted Cavendish to repeat the journey. He sailed along much the same route later in the same decade, looting more towns, burning more ships, and repeating Drake's capture of a treasure ship, the Manila Galleon.

Keywords:   shipping route, New Spain, Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish, English mariners, seamen, Pacific, circumnavigation

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