Sir Francis Drake explored many locales, including Argentina, Chile, California and the Indian Ocean. As a privateer, he also saw many parts of France, Central America and the Caribbean islands.
The English explorer Sir Francis Drake began his professional sailing career with his cousins, the Hawkinses, who engaged in privateering along the coast of France, seizing ships laden with goods and gold. After proving more than competent, he received his own command and began taking slaves from Africa into the Spanish colonies in the New World. Drake's daring and skill caught the eye of Queen Elizabeth I, who commissioned him as an official privateer in 1572. In this role, he set out on a mission to loot and destroy Spanish colonies in Central America. Returning laden with gold and victory, Drake received his next assignment from the queen: to raid Spanish colonies on South America's Pacific coast. He piloted his ship to the Atlantic coast, through the Straits of Magellan and up the Pacific coast, harrying ship and towns and capturing a fortune in treasure. His voyage eventually took him to what is now California, which he claimed for England and named "Nova Albion," or "New Britain." Continuing his journey, Drake traversed the Pacific and Indian oceans, sailed up the coast of Africa and eventually returned home to England. Though that was the end of his major explorations, he would soon play a decisive role in another important moment: the defeat of the Spanish Armada.