The Golden Hind was an English galleon, or sailing ship, famous for circumnavigating the globe. Galleons were large ships that were used during the 15th to the 18th centuries to travel long distances. These ships were used by most countries within Europe and carried out both commercial and military ventures. Due to their size, they provided a means of traveling across oceans.
What makes the Golden Hind famous is its voyage around the Earth captained by Sir Francis Drake. Queen Elizabeth I assigned the task of traveling around the globe to Drake, and the ship that was chosen was the Pelican. Halfway through the voyage, Drake renamed the ship to the Golden Hind. He did this in honor of Sir Christopher Hatton, who was an English politician at the time and one of Sir Francis Drake’s main sponsors during his voyage.
The voyage began in December of 1577, with the Pelican accompanied by five smaller ships that contained 164 men. Drake and his party reached Brazil in the spring of 1578. As the ship traversed the Strait of Magellan, which passes through the Southern tip of South America, Drake renamed the ship the Golden Hind. From there, they sailed north to around San Francisco where they began the trip across the Pacific in late July 1579.
The Golden Hind reached the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in June of 1580. From this point, Drake captained his ship north and returned to England later that year. The Golden Hind arrived in Plymouth Harbor in England in late September 1580. Of the crew that had begun the voyage on the ship, about only three quarters had survived the voyage.
Due to the successful completion of the voyage, Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I. The Golden Hind was docked in Deptford in London, England. It was set up as a display for the public to visit and is thought to be one of the first times that a ship was put on public display. The public could visit the ship for almost 100 years, before the wood of the hull rotted away, and the ship was broken up and removed.
Several replicas have been made of the ship. One of the replicas was built in 1964, and is located in Brixham, Devon in England. It is currently being used as a museum that allows visitors to explore all the levels of the ship and to get an understanding of living conditions on the sea during the Tudor era.