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Francis Drake

September 26 marks the anniversary of Drake’s 1580 completion of his circumnavigation of the globe, the first Englishman so to do, reason enough to celebrate him as a British hero. We like our heroes less than perfect, and Drake fits that mould perfectly: it was Drake who ‘singed the king of Spain’s beard’ at Cadiz in 1587, delaying the Armada a year; Drake who was the first Briton to see the Pacific and possibly reach Alaska; but he was also a slaver, and a pirate – though sometimes government-sponsored. That he remains a British hero shows his impact on our national self-image as a seafaring people, world traders and fighters not afraid to face the most formidable enemies.

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Where there is no property there is no injustice. - John Locke
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On this day:
Spanish Armada defeated - 1588, First International Title Fight - 1751, Opening Ceremony of 1948 Olympics - 1948, First Regular TV Weather Forecasts - 1949, Wedding of Charles and Diana - 1981
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