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Privateers > English Sea Dogs

English Sea Dogs


The English Sea Dogs were pirates from England that sailed during the Privateering Era under the leadership of Queen Elizabeth I between 1560 and 1605. During this time they had explicit permission from the Queen known as a Letter of Marque which allowed them to engage in acts of piracy against the Spanish and other colonial powers the English were at war with at the time.

The English Sea Dogs were also known to engage in the slave trade in Africa. One of the first major English Sea Dogs would be John Hawkins who began in the mid 16th century. Hawkins would also be engaged in the slave trade as part of the Trans-Atlantic Triangular Trade. Another famous Sea Dog was Francis Drake who raided Spanish settlements all across the world. One of Drakes most famous exploits was to sail around to the Pacific Coast and raid Spanish settlements before returning to England, completing his second circumnavigation of the globe.

In 1588 the famous English Sea Dogs named Francis Drake, John Hawkins, Walter Raleigh and Martin Frobisher were all part of the English naval forces that helped defeat the Spanish Armada and challenge Spanish naval hegemony in the region. In 1604 when peace was made with Spain many of the Sea Dogs went to work in the Barbary States which gave rise to a trend of Anglo-Turkish piracy.

Overall the English Sea Dogs were responsible for striking great blows against the Spanish Main. Eventually they would be replaced by the English Buccaneers who operated throughout the Buccaneering Era and helped manage to establish actual colonies for the British Empire throughout the West Indies.

English Sea Dogs

Francis Drake

Walter Raleigh

Thomas Cavendish

Humphrey Gilbert

Martin Frobisher

John Hawkins

Michael Geare

Richard Hawkings



+ English Sea Dogs

+ French Corsairs


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