Drake and the Golden Hind
The Golden Hind, a lovely name for a ship. The masts are tall, but when I saw a modern replica I was amazed that so small a ship could have circled the globe with sixty men. The handcrafted replica built in Appledore, North Devon, has now circumnavigated the globe and travelled 140,000 miles, suggesting that the English knew how to build ships.
Image: Jose L Marin
It is well-known that Drake blotted his escutcheon, but Drake's circumnavigation of the globe, which he completed when he sailed into Plymouth in 1580, and his knighting on this day in 1581 - either by Queen Elizabeth as legend would have it or by a Monsieur de Marchaumont, the Queen worrying about irritating the Spanish - and his subsequent services in defeating the Spanish Armada made Drake indispensable.
Virtual reality also played a role in world exploration.
David adds - My family comes from North Devon, and we spend summers at Saunton. When I was a boy I remember walking to the south end of the beach and my dad hailing a man with a rowing boat from the other side of the Tor and Torridge Estuary who rowed us over to Appledore. Not all the seafarers in Appledore go round the world.