This image is the cover for the book Elizabeth's Sea Dogs and their War Against Spain

Elizabeth's Sea Dogs and their War Against Spain

This maritime history recounts the exploits of sixteenth century English privateers in conflict with the Spanish Empire.

The Sea Dogs were seafaring merchants who originally traded mainly with Holland and France. During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, however, they began sailing further afield, spreading the reach of English exploration and plundering. At that time, England was a relatively impoverished country. But it soon found a new source of wealth in the Caribbean—a region that had been the colonial domain of wealthy Catholic Spain.

The first man to trade with the Spanish Main was John Hawkins, who traveled to West Africa, captured the natives and transported them to the Caribbean. There he sold them to plantation owners in exchange for goods such as pearls, hides, and spices. His backers included the Queen herself, who encouraged the Sea Dogs to seek greater riches. This led to conflict with Spanish ships that would spark the Anglo-Spanish War.

The main thorn in the Spanish side was Francis Drake. Despite efforts to kill or capture him, he continued to plunder the high seas, bringing back Spanish riches to England. This allowed Elizabeth to flourish. It was thanks in main to the privateering exploits of the Sea Dogs that England became so wealthy, paving the way for the Renaissance that followed.

Brian Best

Frontline Books