Sea Dogs, Puppets In A Poitical War

1658 words - 7 pages

Sea dogs of the 1500 and 1600's worked for queen Elizabeth, robbingand pillaging the Spaniards. Over this period of 200 years many shipments ofgold and treasure were stolen from Spanish ships while they were sailingfrom port to port on the Spanish main. In one attack the infamous FrancisDrake, "...surprised and attacked a heavily laden string of 200 mules. Thebooty that Drake captured in this attack included 30 tons of heavy silveringots" (Cochran 28).There were many different and obscure English privateers who piratedagainst the Spanish, but only three of them live on now through their heroictales. The three most well known sea dogs include John Hawkins, Sir WalterRaleigh, and Sir Francis Drake. Drake was by far the most popular of all thesea dogs. It is said that he accumulated the most wealth of anyone in thepirating business (Wood 102). Sir Walter Raleigh was another sea dog, buthe didn't prove to be as successful (Cochran 32). Another pirate during theMiddle Ages was John Hawkins. He robbed the Spaniards of slaves andriches (Cochran 26). Together these three men were accountable for whatwould be worth millions and millions of dollars being converted from Spanishhands to English.These three sea dogs were not just part time pirates though. Piratingwas their main job. William Wood stated that, "...(Spaniards) they were onlynaval amateurs, compared with the trained professional sea dogs." Drakealone was responsible for over 150 attempted or successful attacks onSpanish treasure ships (Howarth 105). Drake also accomplished somethingthat only a select few (George Bush) are able to do: he was knighted. Onereason many believe he was knighted though was not because of heroics, butbecause, "...a fair share of the immense booty he brought back to Englandpassed quietly into royal hands" (Cochran 29). Hawkins and Raleigh alsoaccomplished many great achievements. Raleigh was knighted as well, buteven this and many other great feats, are still over shadowed by Drake'sclever and bold pirating. But, if you look at the big picture, these sea dogswere just puppets in a political war between England and Spain.Elizabeth's reasoning behind having the sea dogs do her dirty workwas quite simple: the sea dogs were the best, most successful, and mosttrained group of naval operators in the world (Wood 170). Many times theQueen would consult with Drake, Raleigh, or Hawkins on matters of relationswith Spain. She would also ask the sea dogs to take reprisal against Spain forany treasure they managed to steal from her (Wood 119). Usually thisrevenge would be to either rob back from them or atomize one of their ports.But the destruction was not why they enjoyed pirating.Sea dogs enjoyed pirating for one main reason: it was a fruitfulopportunity. In this line of business you could make a great deal of moneydepending on how many ships you were able to hit. And the money that weare talking about isn't small peanuts. The amount we are referring to wouldnow be considered...

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