To the South Seas with the Gallant Drake (Dec. 13)

To the South Seas with the Gallant Drake
A famous voyage was Sir Francis Drake’s around the world.
Drake’s crew, the first white men to visit many parts of the
world, received amazing receptions from the natives.
(Sir Francis Drake embarked for South Seas, Dec. 13, 1577.)
Read from DRAKE’S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD Vol. 33, pp. 199-208



The FAMOUS VOYAGE of SIR FRANCIS DRAKE into the South Sea, and
therehence about the whole Globe of the Earth, begun in the year of
our Lord 1577.

THE 15. day of November, in the year of our Lord 1577,
Master Francis Drake, with a fleet of five ships and barks,1
and to the number of 164 men, gentlemen and sailors, departed
from Plymouth, giving out his pretended voyage for Alexandria.
But the wind falling contrary, he was forced the next morning
to put into Falmouth Haven, in Cornwall, where such and so terrible
a tempest took us, as few men have seen the like, and was indeed
so vehement that all our ships were like to have gone to wrack.
But it pleased God to preserve us from that extremity, and to afflict
us only for that present with these two particulars: the mast of our
Admiral, which was the Pelican, was cut overboard for the safeguard
of the ship, and the Marigold was driven ashore, and somewhat
bruised. For the repairing of which damages we returned
again to Plymouth; and having recovered those harms, and brought
the ships again to good state, we set forth the second time from
Plymouth, and set sail the 13. day of December following.
The 25. day of the same month we fell with the Cape Cantin,
upon the coast of Barbary; and coasting along, the 27. day we found
an island called Mogador, lying one mile distant from the main.
Between which island and the main we found a very good and
‘The Pelican, 120 tons, commanded by Drake; the Elizabeth, a new Deptfordbuilt
ship of 80 tons, commanded by Winter, with her pinnace, the Benedict; the
Marigold, of 30 tons; and the Swan, a fly-boat of 50 tons.

safe harbour for our ships to ride in, as also very good entrance, and
void of any danger. On this island our General erected a pinnace,
whereof he brought out of England with him four already framed.
While these things were in doing, there came to the water’s side
some of the inhabitants of the country, shewing forth their flags of
truce; which being seen of our General, he sent his ship’s boat to
the shore to know what they would. They being willing to come
aboard, our men left there one man of our company for a pledge,
and brought two of theirs aboard our ship; which by signs shewed
our General that the next day they would bring some provision, as
sheep, capons, and hens, and such like. Whereupon our General
bestowed amongst them some linen cloth and shoes, and a javelin,
which they very joyfully received, and departed for that time. The
next morning they failed not to come again to the water’s side. And
our General again setting out our boat, one of our men leaping
over-rashly ashore, and offering friendly to embrace them, they set
violent hands on him, offering a dagger to his throat if he had made
any resistance; and so laying him on a horse carried him away. So
that a man cannot be too circumspect and wary of himself among
such miscreants. Our pinnace being finished, we departed from this
place the 30. and last day of December, and coasting along the
shore we did descry, not contrary to our expectation, certain canters}
which were Spanish fishermen, to whom we gave chase and took
three of them. And proceeding further we met with three carvels,
and took them also.
The 17. day of January we arrived at Cape Blanco, where we
found a ship riding at anchor, within the Cape, and but two simple
mariners in her. Which ship we took and carried her further into
the harbour, where we remained four days; and in that space our
General mustered and trained his men on land in warlike manner,
to make them fit for all occasions. In this place we took of the
fishermen such necessaries as we wanted, and they could yield us;
and leaving here one of our little barks, called the Benedict, we
took with us one of theirs which they called canters, being of the
burden of 40 tons or thereabouts. All these things being finished we
departed this harbour the 22. of January, carrying along with us
2 Old Sp. camera (perhaps from cantharus).

one of the Portugal carvels, which was bound to the islands of
Cape Verde for salt, whereof good store is made in one of those
islands. The master or pilot of that carvel did advertise our General
that upon one of those islands, called Mayo, there was great store of
dried cabritos,3 which a few inhabitants there dwelling did yearly
make ready for such of the king’s ships as did there touch, being
bound for his country of Brazil or elsewhere. We fell with this
island the 27. of January, but the inhabitants would in no case
traffic with us, being thereof forbidden by the king’s edict. Yet the
next day our General sent to view the island, and the likelihoods
that might be there of provision of victuals, about threescore and
two men under the conduct and government of Master Winter and
Master Doughty. And marching towards the chief place of habitation
in this island (as by the Portugal we were informed), having
travelled to the mountains the space of three miles, and arriving
there somewhat before the daybreak, we arrested ourselves, to see
day before us. Which appearing, we found the inhabitants to be
fled; but the place, by reason that it was manured, we found to be
more fruitful than the other part, especially the valleys among the
Here we gave ourselves a little refreshing, as by very ripe and
sweet grapes, which the fruitfulness of the earth at that season of
the year yielded us; and that season being with us the depth of
winter, it may seem strange that those fruits were then there growing.
But the reason thereof is this, because they being between the
tropic and the equinoctial, the sun passeth twice in the year through
their zenith over their heads, by means whereof they have two summers;
and being so near the heat of the line they never lose the heat
of the sun so much, but the fruits have their increase and continuance
in the midst of winter. The island is wonderfully stored with
goats and wild hens; and it hath salt also, without labour, save only
that the people gather it into heaps; which continually in greater
quantity is increased upon the sands by the flowing of the sea, and
the receiving heat of the sun kerning the same. So that of the
increase thereof they keep a continual traffic with their neighbours.
Amongst other things we found here a kind of fruit called cocos,
3 Goats.

which because it is not commonly known with us in England, I
thought good to make some description of it. The tree beareth no
leaves nor branches, but at the very top the fruit groweth in clusters,
hard at the top of the stem of the tree, as big every several fruit as
a man’s head; but having taken off the uttermost bark, which you
shall find to be very full of strings or sinews, as I may term them,
you shall come to a hard shell, which may hold in quantity of liquor
a pint commonly, or some a quart, and some less. Within that shell,
of the thickness of half-an-inch good, you shall have a kind of hard
substance and very white, no less good and sweet than almonds;
within that again, a certain clear liquor, which being drunk, you
shall not only find it very delicate and sweet, but most comfortable
and cordial.
After we had satisfied ourselves with some of these fruits, we
marched further into the island, and saw great store of cabritos
alive, which were so chased by the inhabitants that we could do
no good towards our provision; but they had laid out, as it were
to stop our mouths withal, certain old dried cabritos, which being
but ill, and small and few, we made no account of. Being returned
to our ships, our General departed hence the 31. of this month, and
sailed by the island of Santiago, but far enough from the danger
of the inhabitants, who shot and discharged at us three pieces; but
they all fell short of us, and did us no harm. The island is fair and
large, and, as it seemeth, rich and fruitful, and inhabited by the
Portugals; but the mountains and high places of the island are said
to be possessed by the Moors, who having been slaves to the Portugals,
to ease themselves, made escape to the desert places of the
island, where they abide with great strength. Being before this
island, we espied two ships under sail, to the one of which we gave
chase, and in the end boarded her with a ship-boat without resistance;
which we found to be a good prize, and she yielded unto us
good store of wine. Which prize our General committed to the
custody of Master Doughty; and retaining the pilot, sent the rest
away with his pinnace, giving them a butt of wine and some victuals,
and their wearing clothes, and so they departed. The same night we
came with the island called by the Portugals llha do Fogo, that is,
the burning island; in the north side whereof is a consuming fire.

The matter is said to be of sulphur, but, notwithstanding, it is like to
be a commodious island, because the Portugals have built, and do
inhabit there. Upon the south side thereof lieth a most pleasant and
sweet island, the trees whereof are always green and fair to look
upon; in respect whereof they call it llha Brava, that is, the brave
island. From the banks thereof into the sea do run in many places
reasonable streams of fresh water easy to come by, but there was no
convenient road for our ships; for such was the depth that no ground
could be had for anchoring. And it is reported that ground was
never found in that place; so that the tops of Fogo burn not so high
in the air, but the roots of Brava are quenched as low in the sea.
Being departed from these islands, we drew towards the line,
where we were becalmed the space of three weeks, but yet subject
to divers great storms, terrible lightnings and much thunder. But
with this misery we had the commodity of great store of fish, as
dolphins, bonitos, and flying-fishes, whereof some fell into our ships;
wherehence they could not rise again for want of moisture, for when
their wings are dry they cannot fly.
From the first day of our departure from the islands of Cape
Verde, we sailed 54 days without sight of land. And the first land
that we fell with was the coast of Brazil, which we saw the fifth of
April, in the height of 33 degrees towards the pole Antarctic. And
being discovered at sea by the inhabitants of the country, they made
upon the coast great fires for a sacrifice (as we learned) to the devils;
about which they use conjurations, making heaps of sand, and other
ceremonies, that when any ship shall go about to stay upon their
coast, not only sands may be gathered together in shoals in every
place, but also that storms and tempests may arise, to the casting
away of ships and men, whereof, as it is reported, there have been
divers experiments.
The 7. day in a mighty great storm, both of lightning, rain, and
thunder, we lost the canter, which we called the Christopher. But
the eleventh day after, by our General’s great care in dispersing his
ships, we found her again; and the place where we met our General
called the Cape of Joy, where every ship took in some water. Here
we found a good temperature and sweet air, a very fair and pleasant
country with an exceeding fruitful soil, where were great store of

large and mighty deer, but we came not to the sight of any people;
but travelling further into the country we perceived the footing of
people in the clay ground, shewing that they were men of great
stature. Being returned to our ships we weighed anchor, and ran
somewhat further, and harboured ourselves between the rock and
the main; where by means of the rock that brake the force of the
sea, we rid very safe. And upon this rock we killed for our provision
certain sea-wolves, commonly called with us seals. From
hence we went our course to 36 degrees, and entered the great river
of Plate, and ran into 54 and 53 1-2 fathoms of fresh water, where we
filled our water by the ship’s side; but our General finding here no
good harborough, as he thought he should, bare out again to sea
the 27. of April, and in bearing out we lost sight of our fly-boat
wherein Master Doughty was. But we, sailing along, found a fair
and reasonable good bay, wherein were many and the same profitable
islands; one whereof had so many seals as would at the least have
laden all our ships, and the rest of the islands are, as it were, laden
with fowls, which is wonderful to see, and they of divers sorts. It
is a place very plentiful of victuals, and hath in it no want of fresh
water. Our General, after certain days of his abode in this place,
being on shore in an island, the people of the country shewed themselves
unto him, leaping and dancing, and entered into traffic with
him; but they would not receive anything at any man’s hands, but
the same must be cast upon the ground. They are of clean, comely,
and strong bodies, swift on foot, and seem to be very active.
The 18. day of May, our General thought it needful to have a care
of such ships as were absent; and therefore endeavouring to seek
the fly-boat wherein Master Doughty was, we espied her again the
next day. And whereas certain of our ships were sent to discover the
coast and to search an harbour, the Marigold and the canter being
employed in that business, came unto us and gave us understanding
of a safe harbour that they had found. Wherewith all our ships
bare, and entered it; where we watered and made new provision of
victuals, as by seals, whereof we slew to the number of 200 or 300 in
the space of an hour. Here our General in the Admiral rid close
aboard the fly-boat, and took out of her all the provision of victuals
and what else was in her, and hauling her to the land, set fire to her,

and so burnt her to save the iron work. Which being a-doing, there
came down of the country certain of the people naked, saving only
about their waist the skin of some beast, with the fur or hair on,
and something also wreathed on their heads. Their faces were
painted with divers colours, and some of them had on their heads
the similitude of horns, every man his bow, which was an ell in
length, and a couple of arrows. They were very agile people and
quick to deliver, and seemed not to be ignorant in the feats of wars,
as by their order of ranging a few men might appear. These people
would not of a long time receive anything at our hands; yet at
length our General being ashore, and they dancing after their accustomed
manner about him, and he once turning his back towards
them, one leaped suddenly to him, and took his cap with his gold
band off his head, and ran a little distance from him, and shared it
with his fellow, the cap to the one, and the band to the other. Having
despatched all our business in this place, we departed and set
sail. And immediately upon our setting forth we lost our canter,
which was absent three of four days; but when our General had
her again, he took out the necessaries, and so gave her over, near to
the Cape of Good Hope. The next day after, being the 20. of June,
we harboured ourselves again in a very good harborough, called by
Magellan, Port St. Julian, where we found a gibbet standing upon
the main; which we supposed to be the place where Magellan did
execution upon some of his disobedient and rebellious company.
The two and twentieth day our General went ashore to the main,
and in his company John Thomas, and Robert Winterhie, Oliver
the master-gunner, John Brewer, Thomas Hood, and Thomas Dra\e.
And entering on land, they presently met with two or three of the
country people. And Robert Winterhie having in his hands a bow
and arrows, went about to make a shoot of pleasure, and, in his
draught, his bowstring brake; which the rude savages taking as a
token of war, began to bend the force of their bows against our
company, and drove them to their shifts very narrowly.
In this port our General began to enquire diligently of the actions
of Master Thomas Doughty, and found them not to be such as he
looked for, but tending rather of contention or mutiny, or some
other disorder, whereby, without redress, the success of the voyage

might greatly have been hazarded. Whereupon the company was
called together and made acquainted with the particulars of the
cause, which were found, partly by Master Doughty’s own confession,
and partly by the evidence of the fact, to be true. Which when
our General saw, although his private affection to Master Doughty,
as he then in the presence of us all sacredly protested, was great, yet
the care he had of the state of the voyage, of the expectation of her
Majesty, and of the honour of his country did more touch him, as
indeed it ought, than the private respect of one man. So that the
cause being throughly heard, and all things done in good order as
near as might be to the course of our laws in England, it was concluded
that Master Doughty should receive punishment according
to the quality of the offence. And he, seeing no remedy but patience
for himself, desired before his death to receive the communion,
which he did at the hands of Master Fletcher, our minister, and our
General himself accompanied him in that holy action. Which being
done, and the place of execution made ready, he having embraced
our General, and taken his leave of all the company, with prayers
for the Queen’s Majesty and our realm, in quiet sort laid his head
to the block, where he ended his life. This being done, our General
made divers speeches to the whole company, persuading us to unity,
obedience, love, and regard of our voyage; and for the better confirmation
thereof, willed every man the next Sunday following to
prepare himself the communion, as Christian brethren and friends
ought to do. Which was done in very reverent sort; and so with
good contentment every man went about his business.
The 17. day of August we departed the port of St. Julian} and the
20. day we fell with the Strait of Magellan, going into the South
Sea; at the cape or headland whereof we found the body of a dead
man, whose flesh was clean consumed. The 21. day we entered the
Strait,5 which we found to have many turnings, and as it were
shuttings-up, as if there were no passage at all. By means whereof
we had the wind often against us; so that some of the fleet recover-
4 The squadron was now reduced to three ships, the Swan and the Christopher,
as well as the Portuguese prize, having been condemned as unseaworthy, and burnt
or abandoned.
5 Drake here changed the name of the Pelican to the Golden Hind, the crest of
Sir Christopher Hatton.

ing a cape or point of land, others should be forced to turn back
again, and to come to an anchor where they could. In this Strait
there be many fair harbours, with store of fresh water. But yet they
lack their best commodity, for the water there is of such depth, that
no man shall find ground to anchor in, except it be in some narrow
river or corner, or between some rocks; so that if any extreme
blasts or contrary winds do come, whereunto the place is much subject,
it carrieth with it no small danger. The land on both sides
is very huge and mountainous; the lower mountains whereof, although
they be monstrous and wonderful to look upon for their
height, yet there are others which in height exceed them in a strange
manner, reaching themselves above their fellows so high, that between
them did appear three regions of clouds. These mountains
are covered with snow. At both the southerly and easterly parts of
the Strait there are islands, among which the sea hath his indraught
into the Straits, even as it hath in the main entrance of the frete.6
This Strait is extreme cold, with frost and snow continually; the
trees seem to stoop with the burden of the weather, and yet are green
continually, and many good and sweet herbs do very plentifully
grow and increase under them. The breadth of the Strait is in some
places a league, in some other places two leagues and three leagues,
and in some other four leagues; but the narrowest place hath a
league over.
The 24. of August we arrived at an island in the Straits, where we
found great store of fowl which could not fly, of the bigness of
geese; whereof we killed in less than one day 3,000, and victualled
ourselves throughly therewith. The 6. day of September we entered
the South Sea at the cape or head shore. The 7. day we were driven
by a great storm from the entering into the South Sea, 200 leagues
and odd in longitude, and one degree to the southward of the Strait;
in which height, and so many leagues to the westward, the 15. day
of September, fell out the eclipse of the moon at the hour of six
of the clock at night. But neither did the ecliptical conflict of the
moon impair our state, nor her clearing again amend us a whit; but
the accustomed eclipse of the sea continued in his force, we being
darkened more than the moon sevenfold.7
eLat. jreturn. 7I n this storm the Marigold went down with all hands.

From the bay which we called the Bay of Severing of Friends, we
were driven back to the southward of the Straits in 57 degrees and a
tierce; in which height we came to an anchor among the islands,
having there fresh and very good water, with herbs of singular
virtue. Not far from hence we entered another bay, where we
found people, both men and women, in their canoes naked, and
ranging from one island to another to seek their meat; who entered
traffic with us for such things as they had. We returning hence
northward again, found the third of October three islands, in one of
which was such plenty of birds as is scant credible to report. The
8. day of October we lost sight of one of our consorts,8 wherein
Master Winter was; who, as then we supposed, was put by a storm
into the Straits again. Which at our return home we found to be
true, and he not perished, as some of our company feared. Thus
being come in to the height of the Straits again, we ran, supposing the
coast of Chili to lie as the general maps have described it, namely
north-west; which we found to lie and trend to the north-east and
eastwards. Whereby it appeareth that this part of Chili hath not
been truly hitherto discovered, or at the least not truly reported,
for the space of twelve degrees at the least; being set down either of
purpose to deceive, or of ignorant conjecture.

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