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23After carefully planning his mission and scouting the area from offshore, Drake landed his ships south of the city at a place called Port Pheasant. As his men moved toward the city, Drake found a note stuck to a tree for him from John Garret, another English captain. The note explained that the some Spaniards whom had sailed with Drake the year before had betrayed him and stolen all the supplies he had left the year before at that location. This infuriated Drake and he allowed his personal emotions led him to attack ill prepared. The mission to attack Nombre de Dios failed though Drake was able to seize some Spanish ships.24Though the raids were not as triumphant as anticipated, they provided Drake with the experience he would need in the future years.In 1573, Drake once again attempted to raid Nombre de Dios, this time with a French fleet. The primary target was the mule trains that were moving the gold and silver from the 20Williamson, James A. The Age of Drake. London: A and C Black, 1938.21Ibid.22Ibid.23Cummins, John. Francis Drake: The Lives of a Hero. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.24Ibid
S u t h e r l a n d | 9Spanish fleet. While Drake was planning his next move, he made an alliance with former slaves who lived in the area. These former slaves not only aided him in manpower, but also proved to have knowledge of the area he was in. Though many died during the attack, Drake and the French fleet managed to steal a large quantity of gold and silver. They stole so much, that some of it had to be buried as they could not carry it all.While Drake had camped with the former slaves near Panama City, they took him to see something that would change his future, the Pacific Ocean. He became convinced that it was possible to sail into that Ocean and reach Asia where he could attack the Spanish there. Elizabethapproved Drake’s plan to sail to the East Indies, which would result in him circumnavigating the world.25When Drake returned home to England, he had built a fortune worth more than a millionpounds. Elizabeth had also had a stake in this voyage and pay off her entire national debt.26Even though Drakes raids did not have any decisive downfall for Spain, they had made Philip nervous. Drake had repeatedly attacked Spanish towns along the Gulf of Mexico and stolen their ships. Drake had become a constant disruption in Philip’s communiqués and movement of money. Drakes privateering, and those that were inspired by him, were a major factor in Spain’s bankruptcy in 1575. Because of these raids of Drake, Elizabeth was able to see the balance of power shift from Spain to England.Even though Elizabeth did always approve of Drake’s methods, the fact that it filled her treasury was the results that mattered to her. As her privateer navy was gaining strength on the seas, Spain was losing its power. Her policies of using privateers had elevated England in the politics of Europe. This was the power she needed to prevent war for another decade. While she didn’t always approve of the methods, Drake had managed to weaken Spain for her.