Francis Drake held many titles during his lifetime, including sea caption, slave trader, privateer, politician and pirate, but his role as an explorer is what he is most famous for. During the Elizabethan era, Francis Drake was the first Englishman and second navigator to sail around the globe, according to Biography.com.
Drake began sailing ships at the age of 12 under his father's supervision. By the time Drake reached his mid-teens, he was a skilled sailor who impressed many shipmasters. In 1567, Drake and his cousin John Hawkins, with whom he frequently sailed, were responsible for bringing one of the first large shipments of slaves to the new world. They also sailed on many voyages in search of treasure.
In 1577, Drake was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to embark on an expedition to the Pacific Coast to disrupt business in Spanish colonies. He set sail with five ships, but his was the only one to reach its final destination; the other ships were lost at sea. This made Drake the first explorer to successfully navigate the Straits of Magellan, according to the BBC. This voyage to the Pacific Coast took him around the globe, and he was able to accomplish the Queen's mission before the voyage ended in 1580. His exploits were so grand that England considered him to be a hero, and he is still considered to be one of the greatest explorers in history.