Birth: 1485 in Plymouth, Devon, England
Death: Feb 1553 in Plymouth, Devon, England
Captain William Hawkins was a very wealthy seaman/merchant. He was also a devout Christian and part of the Reformation. He was a staunch supporter of freedom of religion. Perhaps this was part of why he was a favorite with King Henry VIII.
William Hawkins got tired of the coasting voyages trading in the ports of Europe. He then made three voyages to Brazil. Wherever he traveled he made friends for himself and for England. On his second trip to Brazil he returned to England bringing a special guest to introduce to Henry VIII. He brought with him a king, probably a local cacique, who had some audacious piercings, being one inch bones through each side of his face. This was a great curiosity in England, and no doubt added to William’s popularity. One his third voyage William attempted to return the Brazilian king to his home, but the king didn’t survive the rigors of the last trip. His subjects released Williams hostage anyway, which goes to demonstrate the respect people held for him.
William had two sons who also were important in the history of English maritime commerce and naval expertise.
His sons were:
- William Amadas Hawkins (1530-1589)
- John Hawkins (1532-1595)