English Galleon – Sir Francis Drake
The Golden Hind (or Golden Hinde) (pronounced /haɪnd/) was an English galleon best known for its global circumnavigation between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. She was originally known as the Pelican, but was later renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1577, as he prepared to enter the Strait of Magellan, calling it the Golden Hind to compliment his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose armorial crest (family coat of arms) was a golden ‘hind’ (the heraldic term for a female deer). Hatton was one of the principal sponsors of Drake’s world voyage.
Further information: Francis Drake
In 1577 Sir Francis Drake was chosen as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America through the Strait of Magellan and to explore the coast that lay beyond. The expedition was personally supported by Queen Elizabeth, which suited him well – he had official approval to benefit himself and the queen, as well as to cause the maximum damage to the Spaniards. This would eventually culminate into the Anglo–Spanish War. Before setting sail, Drake met the queen face-to-face for the first time and she said to him, “We would gladly be revenged on the King of Spain for divers injuries that we have received.” The explicit object was to “find out places meet to have traffic.” Drake, however, devoted the voyage to piracy, without official admonishment in England. He set sail in December with five small ships, manned by 164 men, and reached the Brazilian coast in the spring of 1578. His flagship, the Pelican, which Drake later renamed the Golden Hind, weighed only about 100 tons.
On 1 March 1579, the Golden Hind took the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, which had the largest treasure captured to that date – over 360,000 Pesos. The six tons of treasure took six days to transship. Subsequently Drake sailed North, probably to around San Francisco Bay, claiming this land as ‘Nova Albion’, leaving on 23 July. He then came back across the Pacific, reaching the Cape of Good Hope on 18 June 1580 and Sierra Leone on 22 July. On 26 September 1580, Francis Drake took his ship into Plymouth Harbour with only 56 of the original crew of 100 left aboard. Despite Spanish protests about his piratical conduct while in their imperial waters, Queen Elizabeth herself went aboard the Golden Hind, which was lying at Deptford in the Thames estuary, and personally bestowed a knighthood on him; her share of the treasure came to almost £160,000 […] enough to pay off her entire foreign debt and still have £40,000 left over to invest in a new trading company for the Levant. Her return and that of other investors came to £47 for every £1 invested, or a total return of 4,700%.
The table in the Middle Temple Hall (in the City of London) is reputed to have been made from the wood of the Golden Hind.
The second replica in Brixham, England during low tideA modern full size authentic replica of the ship, also called the Golden Hinde, was built by traditional handcraft in Appledore, North Devon and launched in 1973. It has travelled more than 140,000 miles (225,000 km), a distance equal to more than five times around the globe. Like the original, it has circumnavigated the world. It first sailed, in 1973, to San Francisco to commemorate Sir Francis Drake’s claiming of California for Queen Elizabeth I. In 1979-1980, it retraced Drake’s around the world route. In 1981-1984, it berthed in Britain and was established as an educational museum. In 1984-1985, it circumnavigated the British Isles and then sailed to the Caribbean. In 1986, it sailed through Panama Canal to Canada for The World’s Fair in Vancouver. In 1987, it began a US tour, visiting ports in Washington, Oregon, and California. In 1988, it sailed back through the Panama Canal from California to Texas. In 1989, it visited ports on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1990-1991, it visited ports on the east coast of the US. In 1992, it returned to tour the UK. It has been featured in three films, Swashbuckler (1976), Shogun (1979) and Drake’s Venture (1980). Since 1996 it has been berthed at St Mary Overie Dock on Cathedral Street, in Bankside, Southwark, London, between Southwark Cathedral and Clink Street (51°30′25″N 0°5′25″W / 51.50694, -0.09028). It hosts visits from schools in which children can dress up as Tudor sailors and receive living history lessons about Elizabethan naval history.
A second replica has been permanently moored in the harbour of the sea port of Brixham in Devon (50°23′48″N 3°30′46″W / 50.39667, -3.51278) since 1963.
Izak J H Hough
Member of The Nautical Research Guild