How and why the Elizabethans explored the world.



- English merchants exploiting slave trade. John Hawkins first bought them from Africa in 1562 and sold them to Spanish colonists in the New world.

- Conflict with Spain and the revolt in the Netherlands led to a decline in the wool and cloth trade.

- In 1580, John Hawkins and Francis Drake took no notice of trade restrictions in Spanish territories.

1 of 7

Sailing and Navigation

- More people began documenting voyages which led to more accurate maps.

-In 1569, the mercator map was made by Gerardus Mercator which showed lines of longitude and latitude.

- In 1584, Thomas Harriot found an easier way to use the sun to calculate the sailing direction of a ship.

-Design of ships began to improve.

-Galleons were developed: larger than trading ships with more room for people and items to be stored. They were more stable in heavy seas and had different types of sails on board. Hence, voyages could be faster.

2 of 7

Reasons for Francis Drake setting sail.

- He'd raid Spanish colonies to leave them with weaker defences.

-Drake had been sailing with John Hawkins 1567-68 on a slave trade expedition.The Spanish attacked them at St Juan de Ulua. This devastated the English fleet. 325 sailors were killed.

-Drake was a strict puritan.

-Elizabeth wanted to weaken the Spanish empire.

3 of 7

Impact of circumnavigation on Navy reputation.

- A ship called the Marigold sank and the Elizabeth ship got lost and sailed back to England.

-Stormy weather lasted for a month.

- Drake sailed on the golden hind. Drake returned to England with 56 surviving men.

- They were the second crew ever to achieve such a feat.

- Boosted English morale.

4 of 7

Impact of circumnavigation on English wealth.

- Attacked Spanish settlements along the coast of Peru. They captured gold, bars of silver, coins, wine and attacked 12 Spanish ships full of silk.

- Drake heard that the cacafuego treasure ship had recently left port. He captured its cargo which acqauinted to around £500 million in today's money.

- Helped England pay off debts and aid war prep.

- Drake was knighted in 1581 on the golden hind which sent a clear message to Spain. 

5 of 7

Impact of circumnavigation on exploring and trade.

- Reports suggest Drake got as far west as Vancouver.

-They discovered that Tierra del fuego was not a large southern continent.

- They made a treaty with the King of the Molucca Islands, allowing English merchants to trade spices with them (ginger and pepper).

-Previous attempts at circumnavigation made by Humphrey Gilbert in 1578 acquainted to nothing.

-Reports encouraged new adventures.

6 of 7

Impact of circumnavigation on claiming land for En

- June 1579, the golden hind needed to be repaired after storms in north America. Landed in San Fransisco. Mative Americans treated them with hospitality. Performed a ceremony that Drake assumed was a coronation.

-They named America 'Nova Albion' with Elizabeth as its Queen.

-Elizabeth ignored an agreement made by the Pope a century earlier that the Americas belonged to Spain and Portugal. 

7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Elizabethan England resources »