Sir Thomas Cavendish (or Candish) (1560-1592) was known as "the Navigator" because he was the first who deliberately set out to circumnavigate the globe. While members of Magellan's, Loaisa's, Drake's, and Loyola's expeditions had preceded Cavendish in circumnavigating the globe, it had not been their intent at the outset. After his first circumnavigation, which made him rich from Spanish gold, he set out for a second but was not as fortunate and died a young man of 32 at sea.
In July 1586, determined to follow Drake by circumnavigating the globe, Cavendish built a larger ship named the Desire. His small fleet set out from Harwich on 27 June 1586 and reached the Strait of Magellan on 6 June 1587. They emerged from the strait into the Pacific on 24 February and sailed up the coast of South America, reaching the southern tip of California in October 1587. Along the way he burned three Spanish towns and thirteen ships and visited the ruins of the failed Spanish settlement of Rey Don Felipe and renamed it Port Famine.
In early November 1587 Cavendish captured the 600-ton Spanish galleon Santa Anna off Cabo San Lucas, looting the ship of its valuable cargo, which included over 122,000 silver dollars, at the time the richest Spanish treasures to fall into English hands. Cavendish's ship was too small to carry all the treasure, and he did not have enough men to sail the Spanish galleon, so he burned it and the remaining treasure to the bottom of the harbor. Cavendish also captured a Spanish pilot, Alonso de Valladolid, who knew the way across the Pacific.
Cavendish then sailed across the Pacific to the Philippine Islands where he learned about the Chinese and Japanese coasts, which he hoped to use on a second voyage. Off Cabo, Cavendish took with him two Japanese adventurers, only known by their Christian names, Christopher and Cosmas, who accompanied him during his expeditions between 1587 and 1591. He also came into possession of a large map of China. By 14 May 1587 he reached the coast of Africa and finally reached England on 9 September 1588, completing the circumnavigation of the globe nine months faster than Drake, but, like Drake, returning with only one of his ships, the Desire.
His voyage was a huge success financially and otherwise, Cavendish was only 28. Many later accounts say that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I for his actions against the Spanish, however historian David Judkins says "Although Elizabeth received him, she did not knight him."
Cavendish sailed on a second expedition in August 1591 on the Lester, accompanied by John Davis on the Desire. They reached the Brazil harbour port of Santos, which they looted. Going further south to the Strait of Magellan, the Lester nearly foundered. Cavendish then returned to Brazil, where he lost most of his crew in a battle against the Portuguese on the Village of Vitória, on the State of Espírito Santo. He set off across the Atlantic towards Saint Helena with the remainder of the crew, but died, possibly off Ascension Island. John Davis continued on and discovered the Falkland Islands, before returning to England with most of his crew lost to starvation and illness.