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Sir John Hawkins.Sir John Hawkins.
Sir John Hawkins.

© National Maritime Museum, London

Title: Sir John Hawkins.
Description: Sir John Hawkins was an adventurer, an admiral, an administrator and the architect of the Elizabethan navy. Hawkins began his colourful career following his family into the trade with Africa. On a voyage to Hispaniola in 1562, Hawkins captured and transported around 300 Africans, becoming the first Englishman involved in the slave trade. Despite complaints from Spain and Portugal about the infringement of their trading monopolies and practices, Hawkins led a second slaving voyage in 1564-65. He received backing from prominent merchants and from Elizabeth I, who lent Hawkins a royal ship. The voyage yielded a great profit through the sale of enslaved Africans to the Spanish colonists. A third voyage in 1567-68, which included Drake, was far less successful with the royal ship, the Jesus of Lubeck, captured by the Spanish off the Mexican coast. The sash around Hawkins’ neck in this portrait supports a signet of office.
Creator: English School
Date: 1532-1595
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London


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