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Year 3 History and Geography


history and geography owl

This is an activity adapted from the History and Geography section of the What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know resource book. To learn more about using Core Knowledge UK resource books, please visit the dedicated pages for teachers, parents, grandparents and home educators. To purchase What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know, visit our shop. Also, sign up for the free Core Knowledge UK newsletter to receive updates about new resources and activities.



A Great Explorer: Sir Francis Drake (large version)

Now let's look at Francis Drake's route and his big expedition. Drake sailed away from England with five ships. Just after setting off from Plymouth, great storms set back Drake's journey, but he then sailed to the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. They made the long trip across the Atlantic Ocean, reaching San Julian in what is now Argentina as their first stop on this trip to the New World. Drake had now lost two of his five ships, and he and his sailors spent the winter in San Julian to prepare for the difficult next step of their journey.

sir francis drake map

In the spring, they set off for the Straits of Magellan, at the southernmost tip of South America, where Drake became the first Englishman to sail successfully through these Straits. They sailed through tremendous, gusty storms and, by the time they reached the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the Straits of Magellan in October 1578, two more of their ships had been lost. Now Drake and his small group of just 58 sailors travelled together on the one remaining ship, which had been called the Pelican although Drake renamed it the Golden Hind at this point.

The Golden Hind sailed north along the western coast of South America, stopping to plunder Spanish ports along the way. He stopped in Valparaíso in Chile and then sailed farther north to Lima in Peru, where Drake captured a ship full of Peruvian gold! After hearing of a ship that was full of treasure, Drake led the chase and eventually captured the ship, called the Cacafuego, and all its gold and silver.

Drake travelled further north, eventually reaching what is now California. He had sailed further north along the west coast of the Americas than any other European. Drake was trying to find a passage that would lead east – back to the Atlantic Ocean – but he never found one. In 1579, he turned west and headed across the Pacific Ocean instead.

The Golden Hind reached the East Indies, which were also known as the 'Spice Islands', where Drake and his sailors filled the ship with six tons of cloves, which are a type of spice. Unfortunately, later during their voyage, the Golden Hind became stuck in shallow water and they had to throw half of the cloves off the ship to lighten it and free themselves! From there, they sailed past Java, which they discovered was an island and not a whole continent as other explorers had believed, and then eventually back to Britain. Let's trace Drake's voyage on a bigger map.

Can you trace Drake's voyage on the map? He had successfully circumnavigated the globe – which means that he had travelled all the way around it. His journey took three years, from 1577 to 1580. Just think of all of the things he saw in that time! The Golden Hind had returned home full of Spanish gold and silver as well as spices from the East Indies. Drake had not only brought home treasure and valuable goods but also a wealth of knowledge about the new lands he had seen on his expedition.

Queen Elizabeth I came aboard the Golden Hind to dine with Drake when it dropped anchor in the River Thames, and she made him a knight so he became known as Sir Francis Drake. If you are walking along London's South Bank, you can climb aboard a replica (a copy) of Drake's Golden Hind to see for yourself what it was like.



This activity is adapted from pages 90 - 91 of What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

This activity has cross-curricular connections: click below to see the related activity (repeated owls show multiple related activities in that subject).

history and geography owl
history and geography owl


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