Hawkins, Sir John

(born c.1532 - died c.1595)

Local connection
Voyages set sail from Deptford

Born in 1532 in Plymouth, Devon he was a shipbuilder, merchant and adventurer. He was also the first major English slave trader and is considered to be the first to profit from the Triangle trade.

His first voyage was in 1555 to the Sierra Leone coast. He seized about 300 African slaves, which he sold at Santo Domingo.

The second voyage was in 1564 to Borburata, privateering (plundering) Spanish and Portuguese ships along the way. By the time he reached his destination he had about 400 slaves onboard, which he sold at Rio de la Hacha and returned to England in 1566.

His third voyage was in 1567. He sailed for Africa gaining about 400 slaves and capturing a slave ship Madre de Dios.

In 1595 he accompanied his cousin Sir Francis Drake on a voyage back to the West Indies but he fell sick off the coast of Puerto Rico, died on 12 November 1595 and was buried at sea. Drake also fell ill and died on 27 January 1596.

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