Sir Francis Drake, 1540—1596, was an English privateer, explorer and naval commander. His early voyages were under the aegis of the Hawkins family of Plymouth, engaged in slave trading. He was involved in various raids on the Spanish empire before, during and after his circumnavigation of the world 1577—1580, in which he displayed his enterprise, courage and ruthlessness. He was second in command of the English fleet which drove the Spanish armada to destruction in 1588. Later actions against Spain were not so successful.