Episode 31 – A Dragon Awakens

In this episode, we discuss the dawn of Sir Francis Drake’s career, from his youth through his succesful capture of the Spanish treasure train near Nombre de Dios (March 1573). This was the beginning of a career marked by courage, tenacity, and extraordinary ambition.

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).

Episode 26 – ‘Not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans’

In short, we talk a bit more about Menendez and then he goes on to kill just about everybody in Fort Caroline, including Jean Ribault (although his son Jacques and Laudonierre escaped). The French were so thoroughly thrashed that it would be a century before they showed up in these parts again.

Episode 25 – Coligny’s Colonies

Coligny was not put off by the failure of France Antarctique. In 1562, he dispatched Jean Ribault to found a Huguenot settlement in America. The settlement, Charlesfort, was short-lived owing to the distractions of France’s civil wars and Ribault’s imprisonment in England. In 1564, Coligny sent out another expedition under the command of Rene de Laudonierre, who founded the colony of Fort Caroline in modern day Florida. Our episode closes with the return of Ribault to America and the ominous appearance of a Spanish fleet off the coast of Fort Caroline.

Episode 24 – France Antarctique

We talk all about the first Huguenot attempt to establish a safe haven overseas, Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon’s colony of France Antarctique. Villegaignon, however, was a deeply flawed leader, and the colony soon fell to pieces as religious brawling supplanted productive activity. The Portuguese eventually rubbed out the colony, effectively in 1560 and entirely in 1567. But France Antarctique was only the beginning, and Coligny was determined to create a Huguenot haven in America.

Episode 23 – No Peace Beyond the Line

In this episode, we cover the French campaign of piracy against Spain and Portugal between the years 1521-1559. We talk about the legal dispute between France and Spain, in which Spain claimed absolute right over the Americas while France maintained the doctrine of effective occupation – basically that claims on a territory meant nothing if the area wasn’t effectively occupied. We then go on to talk a bit about the corsairs who so terorized the Spanish and Portuguese: Jean Fleury, Jean Alphonce, Roberval, and Francois LeClerc – the first recorded pirate to wear a peg-leg. We end with the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis (1559), in which the negotiators agreed that there was to be ‘no peace beyond the line’, or that no European peace treaty would be binding beyond the Canaries’ longitude and the Tropic of Cancer.

Episode 22 – In Search of Saguenay

In this episode, we talk about the three expeditions of Jacques Cartier, who discovered the St Lawrence River. We talk about the colony planted by Cartier (and later Roberval) on his third expedition, and we close off the episode with one of the great romantic stories of all time.