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Colonial Period

The Assault of Drake

History of Cartagena de Indias - The assault of Francis DrakeAfter the english pirate Hawkins, yet another invader (a fellow countryman) would visit the shores of Cartagena de Indias: Sir Francis Drake. The recently obtained noble title was given by the Queen Elizabeth of England acknowledging his adventure of going around the world through the Magellan straight (he was the second man in the world to do it) and for sacking the Spanish colonies in the Pacific.

Drake arrived to Cartagena de Indias with a powerful fleet and a well trained army They came in a very dark night through Bocagrande until Punta del Judío (where the Naval Club stands today). Another squadron tried to come in by the Bahía de las Animas, but a chain of floating barrels at Fuerte del Boquerón (today Fort of San Sebastian del Pastelillo) closed their way.

Drake continued then through the Peninsula of Bocagrande until he came to the place (unprotected in those days) where today stands the bulwark Santo Domingo, he found some resistance but by dawn the city was his.

The English negotiated with the authorities of Cartagena de Indias - who had fled to nearby Turbaco - the ransom of the city.

To add some pressure he burnt around two hundred houses in the city if he wasn't paid in the agreed time. Meanwhile at the governor's office he found a letter warning about the arrival of the "pirate" Drake to the american shores. With indignation, Drake in a surge of rage ordered to blow up the cathedral under construction, with cannon shots.

At last, after such destruction the authorities of Cartagena de Indias paid the amount of 107.000 ducats. Drake took as well jewelry, the bells of the city and artillery pieces.


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