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Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 – c. 1596) is a historical character that is heavily referenced in Drake's Fortune and Drake's Deception. He was an English explorer of the Elizabethan era. Queen Elizabeth I awarded him with knighthood in 1581 after being sent on a mission to locate the fabled city of Iram. He later faked his death so that he could search for the lost treasure of El Dorado. Nathan Drake renamed himself after Sir Francis and told everyone that he believed himself to be a descendant of the explorer.



Sir Francis belonged to a secret Hermetic society, headed by Queen Elizabeth. The society included many notable members, including but not limited to: the British Occult Secret Service, the School of Night, the Hellfire Club, the Order of the Golden Dawn, and Francis Walsingham. It also has a hideout that belonging to John Dee and connects with the rest of the underground to another mission to circumnavigate the globe. Drake reached the Arabian Peninsula after the East Indies, and in trying to find Iram, discovered a chamber of sorts underneath Yemen (via a well with a pentagram-esque symbol).

He sketched the controls to open the way to the cistern on the back of his map and wrote the message "The moon will show the way" in Enochian script on the walls should future explorers try to find Iram. He proceeded into the chamber; what he saw (presumably the effects of the tainted water from Ubar, though how it could be there in the first place is unknown) was enough for him to stop his secret mission altogether. Drake then realized that the water was what the Queen wanted. He wrote 6 messages (in English) on the walls of the chamber before leaving:

Let not the world deceive thee with its beauty,

It is the dream of a dreamer, a mirage of the desert, The cup of death will be filled for thee, The devil adorneth it for man until death, Their wealth did not save them,

What has become of the rulers of the Earth.Sir Francis Drake

After returning from his trip, he lied to the Queen and told her he didn't find anything on his voyage. By doing this, the society he, the Queen, & many others were part of did not have the means to control through fear. Essentially, he rewrote history, as countless people in the future would believe his saying of how it took him 6 months to sail through the East Indies when a month was more likely, given his sailing skills. Regardless of Drake's "failure", he was knighted and given a ring by the Queen, inscribed with the motto "Sic Parvis Magna" (translated as "greatness from small beginnings").[1]

He hid all traces of his voyage, by hiding the map of his trip to Arabia (which was signed by John Dee in a 007 mark) in the deer figurehead of his ship, the Golden Hind. John Dee was seriously into the occult and documented everything in Enochian script. Being ahead of his time, and having the foresight to know that there will be future members in the making, Dee created a decoder (which looked like an astrolabe) for any future members of The Order. The Cipher Disk, would only work with the key, Sir Francis' ring (seeing how Drake was a part of The Order, and how they worked together many times in the past). Knowing his attempts to cover his tracks would eventually fail, and that his secret wouldn't be a secret forever, Drake left a hidden message for anyone who wanted to find his map. The message would reveal the words "Long Hidden", an anagram for Golden Hind. Similar to what he would do with El Dorado later on, he left clues for any future explorers in the hopes they would be able to retrace his steps and ensure whatever he found would remain hidden. He made his clues hard to find/decipher for the possibility of future adversaries finding them and wanting to unleash the horrors he had witnessed. His ship was also broken down, as a chair in Buckland Abbey is made out of the wood of his ship.

Some unknown time after this several events occurred in the region around South America, although the exact order of these remains unknown. At some point Drake explored the Amazon rainforest, discovering the temple where the statue of El Dorado was originally located. He drew a map to the temple in his diary, as well a drawing of a brazier,[2] and the solution to the puzzle.[3] He also described the jungle's fauna and flora.[4] It is possible Drake instead visited the temple after exploring the island, or with the information taken from one of the two Spanish boats he managed to capture. One such boat was taken from a dock in Lima, on the 13th of January. He and his crew stole some of the treasure, took a pilot with them named Rodrigo, and cut the other ships loose, after which they set sail for Guiaquil.[5]

In Guiaquil they took another ship laden with treasure, setting the Spanish crew on land, except for a Dominican friar named Juan de Velasco. De Velasco told Drake of an island named 'Rica de Oro', and drew him a map, and also described a large church with a hidden treasure vault underneath, containing many riches.[6] A barely illegible date on the map reads '1578', and with this information Drake managed to actually find the island in the Pacific ocean, which must have appeared abandoned, as he managed to go through the Spanish fortress without issue. He left writing on a wall for someone named Fletcher, saying that he went to "the great tower", where he left his spyglass behind.[7] He eventually must have found the Monastery, as he asked the Spanish pilot Rodrigo what the symbol of the heart with two keys meant.[8]

While on the island he made a note of a tower in the fortress and two keys, which he drew on de Velasco's map. In his diary he also covered the library puzzle, the bell puzzle, the heart symbol, the mausoleum puzzle, and the correct numbers needed to traverse the treasure vault labyrinth. At this point he must have discovered the truth about the island, El Dorado, and the descendants (although at the time likely only their earliest ancestors). With this information he traveled to Britain, and told his queen, who ordered his crew to silence, and confiscated his charts and logbooks, except for his diary.[9] Later on, Francis Drake faked his death on the 28th of January 1596, and the coffin that was buried at sea contained only his diary. On the 29th of January, he had the date inscribed on his ring as a clue to any future treasure hunters who would follow him. Also engraved on the ring were the coordinates of his empty coffin, which was off the coast of Panama, he then traveled back to the hidden island.

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Sir Francis' final letter.

Although the exact reason as to why Drake would fake his death and then return to the island remains unknown, it can be postulated he considered the descendants too grave a threat to ignore like his queen demanded. On the island his entire crew was eventually murdered, he destroyed his own ships, and blew up a large portion of the customs house, flooding the colony where most of the descendants must have stayed at the time. He believed them to be cursed, and that they could have eventually learned to leave the island where his ships not destroyed. Drake himself eventually perished in front of the El Dorado sarcophagus, clutching his rapier, with only a testament revealing his deeds.[10] His body was later found by the Nazis, who left it there, but did take his testament.

My end is near... The devils hunt for me in the darkness. The gold of El Dorado bears a terrible curse; the Spaniards have unleashed hell, and become as demons. My men have all been murdered, leaving the task to me alone. No ship will depart this island; I destroyed them all, and drowned the cursed city. A thing of such great evil must never leave these shores. In my final hour, I commend my soul to God. May He have mercy on this unholy place. Francis Drake.Sir Francis Drake

Drake's Fortune

In "Ambushed", Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher went on an expedition in the waters of Panama to salvage Sir Francis' lost coffin, with Elena filming the discovery for her recorded story. Nate opened the coffin, and like he proclaimed, there was no corpse, but he found Drake's lost diary, the last page of which was missing. Nate held onto the diary throughout Drake's Fortune. He used it first to find a hidden temple in the Amazon rainforest, and Drake's notes helped him to make his way through ancient puzzles. In A Surprising Find, Nate found the missing page, a map showing a hidden island, in a German U-boat stuck within the rainforest, together with a Nazi map showing the coordinates of that island.

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Nate discovering Sir Francis' body.

On the island, Nate found a message left for Fletcher in "Unlocking the Past", and used that clue to head for the tower Drake mentioned. There he found his spyglass, with which he spotted Drake's sunken ships, remarking that they had never left. The diary proved useful again later for puzzles inside the library, church, and the Spaniard's treasure vault. Nate and Elena discovered Sir Francis' body in the heart of the treasure vault in the chapter "The Treasure Vault". Nathan was disappointed in discovering Drake's horrific death and ultimate failure in recovering the treasure. He took off the ring and laid it near Drake's body as a token sign of respect. The ring was, however, retrieved by Elena and later returned to Nate at the end of "Showdown". He eventually found out that Drake purposefully sunk his own ships and flooded the Drowned City, by reading his testament in "Unwelcome Guests".


In his lifetime, Francis Drake had a diary that contained a lot of information pertaining to his various adventures as an explorer.

In Drake's Fortune, Nate found the diary inside the explorer's empty coffin at sea, proving his theory that his supposed ancestor had faked his death. The diary aided Nathan Drake greatly in tracking down the treasure of El Dorado. Francis Drake had previously set out to find the statue himself, and his diary contained detailed logs and clues that Nathan used to decipher the puzzles found on hidden island. The diary was damaged when Victor Sullivan was shot by Gabriel Roman, as it was being kept in the former's breast pocket and blocked the bullet from penetrating through his chest, inadvertently saving his life.

In real life

Sir Francis Drake was an English explorer, sea captain, naval officer, and politician. He was born around 1540 in Tavistock, Devon, England, and became a sailor. From 1577 to 1580, he circumnavigated the world on the Golden Hind which thereafter became England's first museum ship. In 1581, queen Elizabeth I awarded Drake a knighthood. He was vice admiral in command of the English fleet during the fight against the Spanish Armada that was attempting to invade England in 1588.

Drake led many raids against Spanish colonies in South America. He died on January 28, 1596 of a tropical disease while anchoring off the coast of Portobelo in Panama and was buried at sea in a sealed lead-lined coffin.

Behind the scenes

Francis Drake's leitmotif throughout the series is entitled "Sir Francis Drake", composed by Greg Edmonson. It is heard prominently throughout Drake's Fortune and Drake's Deception.


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