Sir John Hawkins: Queen Elizabeth's Slave Trader

Sir John Hawkins: Queen Elizabeth's Slave Trader

by Harry Kelsey
     
 

"Although his cousin Sir Francis Drake is more famous, Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595) was a more successful seaman and played a pivotal role in the history of England and the emergence of the global slave trade. Born into a family of wealthy pirates, Hawkins became fascinated by tales of the riches of foreign lands. Early in his career he led an illegal expedition in… See more details below

Overview

"Although his cousin Sir Francis Drake is more famous, Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595) was a more successful seaman and played a pivotal role in the history of England and the emergence of the global slave trade. Born into a family of wealthy pirates, Hawkins became fascinated by tales of the riches of foreign lands. Early in his career he led an illegal expedition in which he captured three hundred slaves in Sierra Leone and transported them to the West Indies, where he traded them for pearls, hides, and sugar - thus giving birth to the British slave trade. His voyages were so lucrative that Queen Elizabeth herself sponsored subsequent missions." Discouraged from his career as a pirate by a near-fatal encounter with angry Spanish troops, Hawkins spent much of his later life in England at the service of the queen. Although he committed treason, murder, and adultery at various points in his career, he was nonetheless knighted in 1588 for his role in defeating the Spanish Armada.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Kelsey's appraisal is fair and balanced, careful about indulging in speculative riffs and unflinching in its refusal to gloss over the facts that, icon or not, Hawkins was a killer, an inveterate liar, a hard-grabbing hustler who skimmed and scammed great riches for himself at the expense of others, even his queen. He was one of the incredible generation of English "sea dogs," men of inestimable courage and bravado, like astronauts, in little leaky boats, on open and unknown seas. — George Garrett

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300096637
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/20/2003
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.72(h) x 1.27(d)

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