Sir Francis Drake is remembered fondly by Englishmen as one of the most charismatic men of the Elizabethan age. A navigator, privateer and vice-admiral, Drake explored the new world of the Caribbean, and fought the Spanish on behalf of the English both there and back in Europe.
Attacked whilst on a voyage to Caribbean near San Juan de Ulua, Drake vowed revenge on the Spanish who had carried out the raid, and carried out a number of attacks.
His most successful raid was capturing the Silver Train, the regular mule train which the Spanish sent carrying its huge burden of treasure from Peru back through Spanish territories to Spain. Drake's relatively small force overcame the train and captured a vast amount of gold and silver.
So great was the plunder, in fact, that Drake and his men were unable to carry it all back and whilst they took a fortune in gold, they had to leave a fortune in silver. Much was buried, which may have initiated the idea of pirates' buried treasure.
On this voyage, Drake climbed a tall tree on a mountain and is said to have been the first Englishman to see the Pacific Ocean. He expressed a wish that Englishmen might sail in it, and fulfilled this himself years later when he circumnavigated the globe on The Golden Hind.
Drake is also remembered for his role in beating the Spanish Armada when it attempted to invade England in 1588. There is a famous (though possibly apocryphal) story that Drake completed a game of bowls when the Armada was first sighted, claiming there was "time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards".
A parchment bearing Drake's bold signature has come up for sale at Alexander Autograph auctions in Connecticut, and leads the sale with an estimate of $50,000-70,000.
The document is an agreement to the sale of Grayhurst Manor in Buckinghamshire to William Mulsho. Drake autographs are very rare, and this is in excellent condition, despite a blot at the end. The auction takes place on June 3-4.