I found this book intriguing. At school, we learnt Francis Drake was an Explorer, now it appears he was nothing more than an a royal appointed pirate.
Thats said, this is a fascinating read. This is more than just about a bunch of pirates. It tells us that Spain and Portugal had divided the new world between them, yet it took nearly 25 years for the rest of the Old World to discover that the Spanish and Portuguese were bringing back treasures from the Indies.
Yet in those early raids on the Portuguese and Spanish, it was the Dutch and French were raiding ships. Not until Mary died in 1558 did England, once again Protestant, join the privateering.
And this seems to have flourished under Queen Elizabeth. The book does also cover the start of the trade triangle between England, Africa and the New World. I didn’t realise we were trading with Brazil during Henry VIII’s reign.
I also didn’t realise Francis Drake and his family lived in Medway for a while, with Francis’s Father Edmund, being Vicar of Upchurch on the Medway.
There is a lot in this book to wrap your head around, changing allegiances and talks about other Elizabethans that plundered from the Spanish and Portuguese.
The book suggests that these Sea Dogs were bringing much need wealth and prosperity to England after Marys reign.
While it’s a complicated tale, the author does a great job of helping us navigate the period. It is an easy read.
There is also a chapter on the Spanish Armada both from the Spanish perspective and the English perspective using source material.
It is a great read and one that would be useful for any wargammers looking to fight the sea battles of the period.
You can buy the book here from Pen and Sword books.
Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.