Vice Admiral Sir Francis Drake
Accreditation: National Portrait Gallery, London
(c. 1540 -1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician in the Elizabethan era. He ranks among the great mariners of all time.
From 1577 to 1580 Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition under orders from England’s Queen Elizabeth I. He was the first mariner to complete the voyage as captain while leading the expedition through the entire circumnavigation.
it is conventionally claimed Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra completed the first documented voyage along British Columbia’s coast in 1775. Recently however, historian Samuel Bawlf, in his book, Secret Voyage of Francis Drake, posits Drake explored the British Columbia coast in search of the Northwest Passage in 1579. Bawlf claims the exploration was carried out under a cloak of secrecy due to the incendiary political situation England shared with Spain.
When over 20 of Drake’s maps are compared to modern charts, there is a marked similarity to B.C.’s complex Inside Passage to be found. Features such as Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlottes, and the Fraser are all recognizable.
As Martin Frobisher and fellow Elizabethan sailors were seeking the Northwest Passage to Cathay from the Atlantic end, Bawlf posits a part of Drake’s mission to circumnavigate was a secret search for the passage’s Pacific entrance.