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Pirate Who Saved
The son of a Protestant farmer, Francis Drake was the oldest of 12 children. When he was young, religious persecution drove the family from their farm, so Drake learned to sail and eventually sailed around the world.
To the English, Drake was a historic explorer. But to the Spanish, he was a pirate.
Upon intelligence that the Spanish planned to attack England and kill Queen Elizabeth --- the symbol of Protestant Reformation --- Drake developed a bold and risky counter attack. The Pope had promised full forgiveness for any crimes committed by the Catholic, Spanish soldiers in taking down of the queen.
4th April 1581, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603) knights explorer Sir Francis Drake (c.1540 - 1596) on board his ship, the Golden Hind at Deptford. Drake returned in September 1580 from his successful circumnavigation of the globe, bringing a shipload of spices. Engraved by F. Fraenkel from a drawing by Sir John Gilbert, RA. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
As an explorer, Drake was accustomed to dealing with the unknown, so the risk worried him little. Elizabeth's counselors and generals were not as certain and questioned the plan. But Drake, the queen's second in command, was the best on the water, and his hunches had proven good in the past.
In 1588, thirty-three years before the Mayflower would set sail with Pilgrims seeking religious freedom, Drake attacked the Spanish at sea in defense of religious freedom --- and won. The next king of England --- King James --- publish the King James version of the Bible, inspiring more Pilgrims and seekers for centuries to come.
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