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Famous Sailors during Tudor Times

Famous Sailors: The whole of the Tudor period was a time of great exploration. At the beginning of this period, it was the sailors from Spain and Portugal that were journeying the furthest and making the most remarkable discoveries in the New World.

It was during the reign of Elizabeth I that English sailors came into their own. They sought out new wealth and new opportunities and were not afraid of a little plundering of foreign vessels.

Famous Tudor Explorers

The Elizabethan era was not short of heroes wanting to take to the high seas for the glory of queen and country. Elizabethan explorers found that there was no shortage of Tudor sailors willing to accompany them on their voyages of discovery.

The most famous Tudor explorers are probably Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, as these are the names most commonly found in the history books.

Famous Tudor Explorers
Famous Tudor Explorers

There were however many more successful English explorers of the time, such as Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Richard Grenville, and Sir John Hawkins as well as Sir Martin Frobisher and Sir Richard Hawkins. Also sailors like John Cabot, Sebastian Cabot and Henry Hudson; all of which made their name during this great time of discovery.

Famous Sailors in History

During this period in History, Spain was possibly the most powerful country in Europe. They certainly had the largest naval fleet and as such, no shortage of men willing to make their fortunes in the discovery of the New World and all of its treasures.

Famous Sailors during Tudor Times

Who were the famous Tudor explorers?

Amongst the most famous of these men that sailed under the flag of Spain are Christopher Columbus, Hernando Cortez, Francisco Pizarro, and Amerigo Vespucci, though the list is quite extensive. Other countries in Europe, such as Portugal, France, and Italy were also sending out ships on voyages of discovery. They were captained by men such as Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco De Gama, and Marco Polo.

Tudor Exploration

There were many reasons why the sailors of the time were willing to take part in what would undoubtedly be a dangerous voyage. What drove them was the spirit of adventure that abounded at the time. There was also a great deal of money to be made out of a successful voyage.

Not only was there the possibility of discovering a new land which could be claimed in the name of the queen, but there was also the discovery of new foods and spices as well as precious stones, perfumes, and medicines.

Why did the Tudors want to explore the world?

The Tudors mainly wanted to discover new places and establish trade routes with various countries. The flourishing of trade and commerce depended on new transactions with foreign countries and therefore import and export trade became important.

Apart from that, The Tudors also wanted to acquire new lands and establish colonies. The excitement of new discoveries, thus, pushed the royalty to fund new explorations.

Tudor explorations

What were Tudor ships called?

The ships used during the Tudor period were called Galleons. They were large ships built o travel on the sea. They were broad and slow in movement but had a special deck for cannons.

Life on the ships was very hard. The sailors slept on hammocks on the front portion of the ships called the bow. The captains and the officers had their cabins.

What impact did Tudor explorations have on our lives?

The exploration led to new trade routes and the establishment of colonies. Many times the new places found would be renamed after the sailors who discovered them. It was a means of getting richer and finding new sources of wealth for the nation.

The discovery of tobacco, maize and potatoes are important among the new discoveries made during the Tudor era. It also led to the creation of better and accurate maps and navigation tools which helped sailors in future. The journals and records of the explorations helped scholars to have a better knowledge of the world.

Famous Sailors during Tudor Times

New and exotic woods and dyes could also be brought back to England, all of which would make money. Navigation was becoming easier with the introduction of the compass, allowing sailors to find their way in foggy conditions where the stars could not be seen to guide them.

voyage of discovery
Voyage of Discovery

How did Tudor sailors navigate?

Many sailors used a traverse board in order to keep a record of their travelling. The ship’s navigator was called the Pilot, who could work out how far north or south and east or west the ship had travelled.

New maps had been made charting the newly discovered lands too which made navigation more straightforward. There was also the opportunity of discovering something so great, that it could be named after the captain of the ship that leads that specific voyage of discovery.

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