1st February 2013
Sir John Hawkins
Sir John Hawkins was one of the foremost seamen of sixteenth century England. He was an English naval administrator and commander, chief architect of the Elizabethan navy. Hawkins was born in 1532, Plymouth, Devon, Eng. He died November 12, 1595, at sea off Puerto Rico. He made three major voyages, discovered the so called Ridolfi plot of 1571 conspiracy, and assumed the additional duties of controller in the English navy. Hawkins began his career as a merchant in African trade and became the first English slave trader. He carried slaves from Guinea to West Africa. He provoked the conflict with the Spaniards. Unauthorized foreigners weren't allowed to trade the Spanish colonies. Hawkins departed on his first journey in 1562 and ended up becoming so profitable that Queen Elizabeth I paid for his second expedition in 1564. The third expedition in 1567 with Drake end in a disaster. Later on when selling slaves in the Caribbean, a Spanish fleet attacked Hawkins and Drake in the harbor. Out of the six ships only the two that were commanded by Drake and Hawkins escaped. It marked an argument between Spain and England that led to open war in 1585. Hawkins became Spain's ambassador to England. He learned the so called Ridolfi plot of 1571 conspiracy. English Roman Catholics and Spanish assistants were going to dispose of Queen Elizabeth and put in Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots on the English throne. Hawkins noticed it and reported the English plotters, who were arrested. In 1577 Hawkins succeeded his father-in-law, as treasurer of the navy. John later assumed additional duties of controller in 1589. He was able to direct the rebuilding of the older galleons and design a faster more heavily armed ship. Hawkins was third in command during the armada crisis, during which he was knighted. He set up naval blockades to intercept Spanish treasure ships returning from the new world. In 1595 Drake and...