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Elizabethan Sea Dogs   By: (1864-1947)

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ELIZABETHAN SEA DOGS

A CHRONICLE OF DRAKE AND HIS COMPANIONS

BY WILLIAM WOOD

1918, Yale University Press

Printed in the United States of America

PREFATORY NOTE

Citizen, colonist, pioneer! These three words carry the history of the United States back to its earliest form in 'the Newe Worlde called America.' But who prepared the way for the pioneers from the Old World and what ensured their safety in the New? The title of the present volume, Elizabethan Sea Dogs , gives the only answer. It was during the reign of Elizabeth, the last of the Tudor sovereigns of England, that Englishmen won the command of the sea under the consummate leadership of Sir Francis Drake, the first of modern admirals. Drake and his companions are known to fame as Sea Dogs. They won the English right of way into Spain's New World. And Anglo American history begins with that century of maritime adventure and naval war in which English sailors blazed and secured the long sea trail for the men of every other kind who found or sought their fortunes in America.

CONTENTS

I. ENGLAND'S FIRST LOOK Page 1

II. HENRY VIII, KING OF THE ENGLISH SEA " 18

III. LIFE AFLOAT IN TUDOR TIMES " 33

IV. ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND " 48

V. HAWKINS AND THE FIGHTING TRADERS " 71

VI. DRAKE'S BEGINNING " 95

VII. DRAKE'S 'ENCOMPASSMENT OF ALL THE WORLDE' " 115

VIII. DRAKE CLIPS THE WINGS OF SPAIN " 149

IX. DRAKE AND THE SPANISH ARMADA " 172

X. 'THE ONE AND THE FIFTY THREE' " 192

XI. RALEIGH AND THE VISION OF THE WEST " 205

XII. DRAKE'S END " 223

NOTE ON TUDOR SHIPPING " 231

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE " 241

INDEX " 247

ELIZABETHAN SEA DOGS

CHAPTER I

ENGLAND'S FIRST LOOK

In the early spring of 1476 the Italian Giovanni Caboto, who, like Christopher Columbus, was a seafaring citizen of Genoa, transferred his allegiance to Venice.

The Roman Empire had fallen a thousand years before. Rome now held temporal sway only over the States of the Church, which were weak in armed force, even when compared with the small republics, dukedoms, and principalities which lay north and south. But Papal Rome, as the head and heart of a spiritual empire, was still a world power; and the disunited Italian states were first in the commercial enterprise of the age as well as in the glories of the Renaissance. North of the Papal domain, which cut the peninsula in two parts, stood three renowned Italian cities: Florence, the capital of Tuscany, leading the world in arts; Genoa, the home of Caboto and Columbus, teaching the world the science of navigation; and Venice, mistress of the great trade route between Europe and Asia, controlling the world's commerce.

Thus, in becoming a citizen of Venice, Giovanni Caboto the Genoese was leaving the best home of scientific navigation for the best home of sea borne trade. His very name was no bad credential. Surnames often come from nicknames; and for a Genoese to be called Il Caboto was as much as for an Arab of the Desert to be known to his people as The Horseman. Cabottággio now means no more than coasting trade. But before there was any real ocean commerce it referred to the regular sea borne trade of the time; and Giovanni Caboto must have either upheld an exceptional family tradition or struck out an exceptional line for himself to have been known as John the Skipper among the many other expert skippers hailing from the port of Genoa.

There was nothing strange in his being naturalized in Venice. Patriotism of the kind that keeps the citizen under the flag of his own country was hardly known outside of England, France, and Spain. Though the Italian states used to fight each other, an individual Italian, especially when he was a sailor, always felt at liberty to seek his fortune in any one of them, or wherever he found his chance most tempting. So the Genoese Giovanni became the Venetian Zuan without any patriotic wrench. Nor was even the vastly greater change to plain John Cabot so very startling. Italian experts entered the service of a foreign monarch as easily as did the 'pay fighting Swiss' or Hessian mercenaries... Continue reading book >>




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