xxxxxThe English seaman John Hawkins is best known for his role as a naval commander at the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Earlier, however, as a privateer, he has the dubious distinction of leading the first English slave-
JOHN HAWKINS 1532 -
xxxxxJohn Hawkins, one of the ablest seamen of his time, was born in Plymouth, Devon. He is best remembered today for his role as a commander against the Spanish Armada in 1588, or for the fact that he was one of the first, if not the first, to introduce sweet potatoes and tobacco into England. But he also has a distinction of a much less worthy nature. In 1562, as a privateer, he led the first English slave-
xxxxxHawkins entered parliament in 1571 and six years later succeeded his father-
xxxxxTwo years later he made a voyage to the Azores in an unsuccessful attempt to intercept a Spanish silver fleet, and in 1595 he died at sea -
xxxxxIncidentally, Hawkins' son Richard served under Sir Francis Drake during his expedition to the West Indies in 1585, and commanded the Swallow during the defeat of the Spanish armada. During a voyage to South America he was captured by the Spanish and imprisoned first in Peru and then in Spain. After payment was made for his release, he returned to England in 1602 and was knighted the following year.
Hawkins: 1581, artist unknown – National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. San Juan de Ulúa: illustration from British Battles on Land and Sea by the Scottish author James Grant (1822-