The Golden Hind was an English galleon best known for her privateering circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. She was originally known as Pelican, but was renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1578, in honour of his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose crest was a golden 'hind' (a female red deer). Hatton was one of the principal sponsors of Drake's world voyage. One full-sized, still sailable reconstruction containing original pieces of the galleon exists in London, on the south bank of the Thames.




Queen Elizabeth I partly sponsored Sir Francis Drake 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 queen's support was advantageous; Drake had official approval to benefit himself and the queen, as well as to cause the maximum damage to the Spaniards. This eventually culminated in 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, acted as a privateer, with unofficial support from Queen Elizabeth. She is described as a "mid-16th-century warship during the transition from the carrack to the galleon," and displaced about 100 tons. He first named his flagship Pelican, but renamed her Golden Hind on 20 August 1578 to honour his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose family crest was a golden hind. He set sail in December 1577 with five small ships, manned by 164 men, and reached the Brazilian coast in early 1578.

On 1 March 1579, now in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Ecuador, Golden Hind challenged and captured the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. This galleon had the largest treasure captured to that date: over 360,000 pesos (equivalent to around £480m in 2017). The six tons of treasure took six days to transship and included 26 tons of silver, half a ton of gold, porcelain, jewellery, coins, and jewels.

On 26 September 1580, Francis Drake sailed his ship into Plymouth Harbour with 56 of the original crew of 80 left aboard. The ship was unloaded at Saltash Castle nearby, where the treasure offloading was supervised by the Queen's guards.

Over half of the proceeds went to the Queen and country and were used to pay off the annual debt in its entirety. Queen Elizabeth I herself went aboard Golden Hind, which was then permanently at Deptford on the Thames Estuary, where she had requested it be placed on permanent display as the first 'museum ship'. There, she shrewdly asked the French ambassador to bestow a knighthood on Drake. Her share of the treasure came to at least £160,000: "enough to pay off her entire government 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, was more than £47 for every £1 invested, or 4,700%."

After Drake's circumnavigation, Golden Hind was maintained for public exhibition at the dockyard at Deptford, London. The Ship was sent with the rest of the English Armada, also known as the Counter Armada, to Spain by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1589, during the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). It was led by Sir Francis Drake as admiral and Sir John Norreys as general, and failed to destroy of the Spanish Armada. The campaign resulted in the deadlocking of the English expeditionary force, and its withdrawal with heavy losses. The victory of the Spanish marked renewed Philip II's power through the next decade over the seas.









The history of the Golden Hind Ship voyage during the first year, taken from the Golden Hind ship's log:


1577 Nov 15: The Golden Hind Ship left Plymouth but returned owing to contrary winds


1577 Dec 13: The Golden Hind left Plymouth again with 5 ships (Pelican, Elizabeth, Swan, Marigold, and Benedict)


1578 Jun 20: Off east coast of S. America at Port Julian. Thomas Doughty tried and executed for mutiny. The Swan and The Christopher broken up, no longer needed. Stores and crew transferred to remaining ships. Pelican renamed Golden Hind


1578 Aug 20: The Golden Hind Entered Straits of Magellan


1578 Sep 6: Reach Pacific


1578 Sep 30: Marigold lost. Golden Hind and Elizabeth blown 300 miles south to Cape Horn


1578 Oct 7: Violent squall separates Golden Hind and Elizabeth. Elizabeth waits for Drake but returns home


1578 Dec 5: Raid on Valparaiso. Capture Spanish ship carrying gold and wines. The Golden Hind Refitted here


The History of the Golden Hind Ship - 1579 Voyage


1579 Mar 1: Took the Cacafuego. 80lb gold, 13 chests of pieces of eight, 26 tons of silver, jewels and pearls. Also captured 2 pacific pilots


1579 Apr 15: The Golden Hind Reached Central America


1579 Jun 1: Latitude 48N (now Vancouver). North West route considered too great a hazard. Return to New Albion


1579 Jul 23: The Golden Hind left New Albion


1579 Oct 16: The Golden Hind reached the Philippines


1579 Nov 3: The Golden Hind reached Spice Islands (Moluccas). Trade relations established with Sultan of Ternate, six tons of cloves taken aboard

The History of the Golden Hind Ship - 1580 Voyage and the end of the Golden Hind


1580 Jan 9: Ship struck reef; 8 cannon and 3 tons of cloves jettisoned. Wind changed and ship slid off reef


Mar 26 1580: The Golden Hind reached Java and left for Cape of Good Hope


July 22 1580: Reached Sierra Leone without stopping since leaving Java


September 26 1580:The Golden Hind was the only vessel to return from Francis Drake’s expedition with 58 men - five vessels had originally set out from England with 164 men


1581 April: Francis Drake was knighted "Sir Francis Drake" on board the Golden Hind by Queen Elizabeth in 1581. The ship was decorated with banners on the day that Drake was knighted and Queen Elizabeth I dined on board the Golden Hind


The ship was taken to a dry dock Deptford for public exhibition to honour Sir Francis Drake. The Golden Hind stayed in dry dock for nearly 100 years but it was badly neglected and the timbers rotted. So ended the story of the Golden Hind but for the manifold replicas that were to be built.




Replica in Essex

A replica of Golden Hind was constructed at Peter Pan's Playground (now Adventure Island adventure park), Southend-on-Sea, Essex. It was constructed from 1947 and opened in 1949 together with a waxworks. By 1992, attendances had dropped, and combined with rising maintenance costs with the need for major renovation to the wooden structure caused its closure in 1997. The ship was replaced by a replica of Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge. This ship was demolished in 2013.

Replicas in Devon

A replica of Golden Hind has been permanently moored in the harbour of the sea port of Brixham in Devon (50°23′48″N 3°30′46″W) since 1963 following its use in the TV series Sir Francis Drake, which was filmed in and around the bays of Torbay and Dartmouth. The replica ship used in the TV series cost £25,000 to construct and had no rear gallery or gun deck and was a converted fishing boat. The ship sank whilst under tow in 1987 to Dartmouth for restoration in heavy seas and could not be saved. A second, full-sized replica was completed in 1988 and stands in the harbour being visited by thousands of visitors annually. The current vessel is based on a steel barge and could never sail.

London replica – Golden Hinde

A full-size reconstruction of the ship Golden Hinde was built by traditional methods in Appledore, North Devon and launched in 1973. Golden Hinde was the result of three years research and construction. Since then, she has travelled more than 140,000 miles (225,000 km). She sailed from Plymouth on her maiden voyage in late 1974, arriving on 8 May 1975 in San Francisco. In 1979, she sailed to Japan to make the movie Shogun, after which she returned to the UK having completed a circumnavigation. Between 1981 and 1984, she was berthed in England and was established as an educational museum. In 1984–85, she sailed around the British Isles and then crossed the Atlantic to St Thomas in the Caribbean. In 1986, she passed through the Panama Canal to sail on to Vancouver, where she was the main attraction in the Marine Plaza at Expo86. In 1987, she began a tour of US coastal cities, spending two years on the Pacific coast. In late 1988, she passed back through the Panama Canal to continue port visits on the Gulf and East Coasts of the USA. In 1992, she returned home to the UK and spent the next four years visiting ports in Europe. Since 1996, she has been berthed at St Mary Overie Dock, in Bankside, Southwark, London, where she is open to the public and hosts a range of educational programmes.









Drake was noted in his life for one daring feat after another; his greatest was his circumnavigation of the earth, the first after Magellan's. He sailed from Plymouth on Dec. 13, 1577. The squadron consisted of five vessels, the two larger ships being the Pelican, Drake's own ship, renamed Golden Hind on the voyage, on August 20, 1578; and the Elizabeth, commanded by John Winter. Three smaller vessels were the Marigold, Swan, and Benedict. Only one ship, the Golden Hind, made the complete voyage, returning on Sept. 26, 1580, "very richly fraught with gold, silver, pearls and precious stones" (Stow, Annales , p. 807). Number of crew members: 164 men.

The expedition was financed as a joint venture, the investors being such high officials as Privy Councilors Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; Sir Francis Walsingham; the Earl of Lincoln, Lord High Admiral of England; also, Sir Christopher Hatton; Sir William Winter, Surveyor and Master of Ordnance of the Navy; and John Hawkins, Drake's former commander. Queen Elizabeth herself may have been an investor, though this is not quite certain; what is certain is that she appropriated the lion's share of the proceeds of the voyage. Drake himself participated to the tune of £1000, a good sum for that time.


Drake quietly informed the Queen and the investors of the amount of profit which had been earned by the voyage - this has been stated to be 4600 percent (£47 for each £1 invested). On April 4, 1581, Elizabeth had Drake knighted, on the occasion of a visit to the Golden Hind. He certainly deserved this honor. According to the economist J. M. Keynes, the English foreign debt was paid off from the Queen's share of the proceeds, and there was enough left over (£42,000) for her to capitalize a new venture, the Levant Company, a firm which played an important part in the development of British foreign trade.

The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake , 1628, is the first detailed account of the "famous voyage"; it adds very much to the Hakluyt report. It is a compilation from several sources, the most important of which is the journal of Francis Fletcher, the chaplain on board the Golden Hind. Fletcher was not very friendly to Drake - he had been severely disciplined by him ("excommunicated") while the voyagers were in the East Indies.


Even today in a modern United Kingdom knighthoods typically follow significant contributions to the Treasury.







FRANCIS DRAKE - Born on the Crowndale estate of Lord Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford, Drake’s father, Edmund Drake, was the son of one of the latter’s tenant farmers. Edmund fled his native county after arraignment for assault and robbery in 1548. The claim that he was a refugee from Roman Catholic persecution was a later pious fiction. From even before his father’s departure, Francis was brought up among relatives in Plymouth: the Hawkins family, who combined vocations as merchants and pirates.

When Drake was about 18, he enlisted in the Hawkins family fleet, which prowled for shipping to plunder or seize off the French coast. By the early 1560s, he had graduated to the African trade, in which the Hawkins family had an increasing interest, and by 1568 he had command of his own ship on a Hawkins venture of illicit slave-trading in the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean.





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