Episode 36 – As Near to Heaven by Sea as by Land!

In this episode, we discuss Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the pioneer of British America. We first talk about Gilbert’s family, connections, and activities in Ireland (spoiler alert: they aren’t pretty). Following Gilbert’s Irish stint, we take a look at his two attempts to colonize Newfoundland: his botched attempt in 1578 and his fatal attempt in 1583.

Episode 35 – The World Encompassed Pt. 2

In this episode, we conclude Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe. We discuss his plundering of the Spanish Pacific, the capture of the Cacafuego, the discovery of Nova Albion, trade with Ternate, and various other events which occurred during the voyage. After that, we discuss the rapturous welcome Sir Francis Drake (now knighted) received back home in England.

Episode 34 – The World Encompassed Pt. 1

In this episode, we cover the beginning of Drake’s great circumnavigation of the globe. This episode covers Drake’s Atlantic voyage (including his power struggle with Sir Thomas Doughty) and his entry into the Pacific. By now, Drake’s flagship is the only ship remaining. He is alone in the vast Spanish Pacific – and has no intention of turning around.

Episode 33 – The South Sea

In this episode, we discuss the backdrop of Drake’s curcumnavigation of 1577-1580. In short, we cover two distinct developments: John Oxenham’s failed attempt to break in (or more accurately, break out of) the Spanish Pacific, and Sir Richard Grenville’s plan to colonize and explore the South Pacific. But then Drake came along and stole Grenville’s proposal for himself, so yeah. Richard Grenville was not amused.

Episode 32 – Fools’ Gold

In this episode, we first discuss what Francis Drake was up to (basically the Rathlin Island Massacre of 1575), before moving along to Martin Frobisher. Frobisher was initially searching for a north-western passage to the Indies, but eventually he and the newly formed Cathay Company got distracted by the iron pyrites they found on Baffin Island (they thought the iron was gold). As you can imagine, these highly expensive expeditions ended up being a massive bust when they found out that the “gold” they had been collecting was nothing but iron pyrites.

Episode 30 – Betrayal at San Juan

In this episode, we discuss the increasing hostility with which the colonial authorities regarded John Hawkins, which culminated in the ultimate betrayal at San Juan de Ulua. Hawkins’s fleet was destroyed, most of his men either killed or enslaved, and Hawkins himself sent packing back home. But Hawkins’s young kinsman, Francis Drake, had vowed revenge. Next episode, El Draque will awaken.

Episode 29 – John Hawkins

In this episode, we cover the first two voyages on John Hawkins to the Spanish Indies. Hawkins’s voyages were groundbreaking in that they were the first well-organized English trading ventures to the Caribbean, and what was more, Queen Elizabeth herself was one of the investors. However, the Spanish were most displeased with this English slave-smuggler, and though he thought his position was fairly safe, in next episode Hawkins will be rudely reminded who’s boss in the King of Spain’s dominions.

Episode 28 – A Northeastern Passage

In this episode, we examine the English commercial explosion during the reigns of King Edward IV and Mary I. We also look at the Muscovy Company and the search for a ‘Northeastern Passage’ to the Indies. We end off with Queen Mary’s death and the accession of her sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth will take this growing commercial might and use it to great effect as a weapon against Philip II’s overseas empire.

Episode 27 – The French Wars of Religion

This episode is a very “broad strokes” episode, where we cover some key events of the French Wars of Religion and basically just get a better idea of how that played into their new world activities. Or, to be more precise, how the civil wars curtailed their activities, most notably with the murder of Coligny during the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572). This episode wraps up our treatment of the French for a really long time, and from here on in, it’s all England and her colonies, all the time (with a few Spanish interludes).