In 1577, Francis Drake and his crew set sail from Plymouth aiming to be the first Englishmen to sail aound the world. At that time the Spanish, led by Phillip II, had been plotting to removed the English Queen Elizabeth I from the thrown in favour of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. Spain had established territories in South America and built a strong navy to protect their nations lucrative trade routes. The Queen saw this as a threat her and England, and signed a royal charter allowing Drake to attack and loot any Spanish ship.
Drake rewarded her by capturing several Spanish ships and bringing back 28 tonnes of gold. He was knighted on the deck of the Golden Hinde and the Queen decreed that the ship be docked in Deptford as a museum in order for the public to celebrate in her success.
Although the ship rotted away in the 1600s, its legacy was only just beginning. Drake's successful journey around the world founded the sailing routes that would establish Britain as an international trading nation. The flow of international trade, pioneered by the East India Company, made London the financial centre of the world and was a precursor to Britain becoming the richest and most powerful country on Earth. The birth of the British Empire can be traced back to the sails of the Golden Hinde.
The ship that played a significant role in history was no more, but she was never forgotten and her 400th anniversary of arriving in America inspired two American gentlemen to give her life once again. The current ship was designed by Californian naval architect Loring Christian Norgaard. He was commissioned by The Golden Hinde Limited of San Francisco, a company formed by Albert Elledge, and by Art Baum. The present day Golden Hinde is an authentic reconstruction that was built in Devon in 1973. After sailing more then 140,000 miles around the world, she has been at her current London home since 1996.
While the Golden Hinde was built over 40 years before the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers it is a very well recreated copy of a sailing ship of the Tudor period and gives a facscinating insight into ship construction and life on board.