On Francis Drake the Pirate, Queen Elizabeth I, and the Age of Empires
Laurence Bergreen in Conversation with Andrew Keen on Keen On
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In this episode, Andrew is joined by Tom Bergreen, the author of In Search of a Kingdom, to discuss the life and travels of Francis Drake, as well as his relationship with Queen Elizabeth I and the lasting impact that Drake’s exploits had on modern British history.
From the episode:
Laurence Bergreen: [Queen Elizabeth I] did spend a lot of face time with Drake after the circumnavigation. Before the circumnavigation, he was a wannabe pirate. He was one more aspiring privateer who was trying to get her backing, trying to win her favor. But he was the one who really had the guts to attempt a circumnavigation. The last one to have done that was Magellan, about 60 years earlier.
Andrew Keen: The Portuguese navigator. He was the first guy to sail around the world, and Drake was the second? Is that fair?
Laurence Bergreen: Well, almost. Magellan died in the attempt. He was killed in the Philippines in a very unnecessary tribal war. So when Drake was doing this, nobody had really attempted to duplicate Magellan’s feat because it was thought to be too dangerous.
Laurence Bergreen is the bestselling author of Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. His other books include Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504; Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu; and Voyage to Mars: NASA’s Search for Life Beyond Earth. A graduate of Harvard, Bergreen lives in Manhattan.