Ixtapa Zihuatanejo - History, Sir Francis Drake and Adm. George Anson

Pirates & Privateers


1540 - 1596†

He taught himself the arts of sailing as the navigator of a merchant vessel and by 1567 he was the Captain of a ship as part of the fleet under Sir John Hawkins command. In 1572 Queen Elizabeth commissioned Drake as a Privateer and in 1577 he sailed to America with five vessels and 166 men.

He lost two ships in the River Plate, in South America between Argentina and Uruguay. One more during a heavy storm in the South Atlantic and one returned to England due to heavy damage. He crossed to the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Magellan with just his ship, the Golden Hind in semi-good condition also due to damages from the storms.

Sir Francis Drake

Once he reached the Pacific Ocean, he sailed north as far as Latitude 48°N in the border with Canada, attacking every Spanish vessel and settlement on sight and becoming very famous for his bravery and courage on the battles. The Spaniards called him El Draque which is the literal pronunciation of his last name in the Spanish language but also nicknamed him El Draco which in Latin means "The Dragon"

Drake stopped in Zihuatanejo for repairs and briefly used our bay as base for his attacks to the Spanish Navy galleons and merchant ships from other nations.



 What is believed a drawing of the Golden Hind dated
from around 1623 and a full size replica of our times

He arrived back to England in 1580 and was knighted (named Sir) by the Queen. In 1587 he was promoted to Rear Admiral and on January 28th. of 1596, at his death, he was buried in the Caribbean Sea. As a farewell and to honor him, his crew burned two captured vessels while saluting him with cannon fire.

Sir Francis Drake signature, taken from documents



1697 - 1762†

In 1712 he enrolled in the English Navy as a volunteer. In 1717 he received his acting order as Lieutenant and he became part of the crew of Capt. Chamberlain fleet. He served in the Baltic and Mediterranean for a while and in 1722 he was promoted to Captain.

In 1740 with the ship Centurion and six other vessels he came to America to fight the Spaniards and seize the Manila Galleons on their wealthy commercial route from Acapulco, Mexico to the Philippines.

Adm. George Anson

Anson used Zihuatanejo bay as a hiding and resting place for his crew. In our shores he sunk the Spaniard ship Caramelo that was passing by without knowledge that he was in our bay.

Map of the Bay

Map of the Bay of Zihuatanejo that is believed to be from  the ship of
Adm. George Anson. The bay is named "Chequetan" or "Seguataneo"

In this map and in another drawn by William Dampier are the only documents known where it's called "Bay of Chequetan" and this is the only one where it's also called as "Seguataneo".

It is said that during his stay in our bay he had a mutiny aboard one of his ships and that several of the mutineers abandoned their vessel and possibly stayed to live with the natives. However, on his ship's log Anson doesn't mention such incident, but we must take into consideration that perhaps it would not have been convenient for him to register it if this could have tarnish his image or compromise his rank on his return home. Some historians say that a few local last names probably were taken from those mutineers that that spend the rest of their lives here.

After more than three years, in 1744 he went back to England with just one ship and only 145 men of the original 1000 that came with him but with treasures worth more than £800,000 sterling pounds of that time. At today's value approximately £50 millions or US$80 millions. No navy commander ever exceeded this fortune in loot.

Drawing Drawings

Lt. Piercy Brett, an officer aboard the Centurion responsible
for many of the drawings during Anson trip in the Pacific

The enormous success of Anson's mission granted him the Rear Admiral promotion and in 1761, one year before his death, he became an Admiral of the Fleet.

Adm. George Anson signature, taken from documents



Notice: If there is NO MENU on the left part of your screen, we recommend
entering our site the proper way to be able to browse all pages.  CLICK HERE

News Board