The Queen’s Slave Trader
This non-fiction account of the life and times of John Hawkyns illuminates the Anglo-Spanish rivalry on the open seas and at which cost Queen Elizabeth and her favorite would go for gold and power. Born into the merchant life as his father engaged in a triangle trade, Hawkyns continues the family tradition with a vengeance, leading three voyages to West Africa in the 1560s to ransack African villages and attack Portuguese slave ships. He shipped hundreds of captive Africans across the Atlantic, and sold them, sometimes by force, to Spanish colonists. In 1568, his ships were smashed by the Spanish off the coast of Mexico and his career ended in disaster for himself and his men. But the seeds of an empire based in slavery had taken root.
Encyclopedic in scope and solidly researched, this account of Hawkyns and his royal protector brings to life the brutal underbelly of an age that birthed England’s African slave trade and its lasting consequences.