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One Thanksgiving-Pilgrim Story You’ve Never Heard: How America Nearly Was A Spanish Nation, Episode 183 (interview with Susan Jackson)

mayflowerHost Bill Heid talks to historian Susan Jackson, who tells listeners about an English sea captain who, three decades before the Pilgrims, essentially prevented America from becoming a Spanish settlement. The man is Sir Francis Drake, and he actually owned the Mayflower before it even sailed for the New World.

It’s the Thanksgiving story we’ve never heard. Of course, we know about the Pilgrims, and how they sailed across the ocean looking for religious freedom, settled in what we now know as Massachusetts, and were assisted by a group of Native Americans who knew the land like no one else.

Jackson, though, says without Drake, Americans today would be speaking Spanish, and there would have been no Pilgrims. Most school children know Drake as the man who led what became the second fleet to sail around the world. But his connection to American history is one that often goes untold, Jackson says on this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio.

View Text Transcription

Drake often is thought of as a ruthless seafarer, but Jackson says that’s far from the truth. Jackson tells us:

  • How Drake’s defeating of the Spanish Armada changed world and American history.
  • Why Americans likely would be speaking Spanish today if it weren’t for Drake.
  • How Drake came from the lower classes and never lost his common touch, even though he became friends with the queen.
  • How Drake was far ahead of his time in race relations and caring for the poor.
  • Why the Industrial Revolution likely would not have taken place without Drake.
  • How Drake’s Christian faith drove his good deeds, turning him into an honest businessman and even leading him to conduct worship services aboard his ships.

Jackson is a Drake expert who was consulted during the writing of the new radio theater CD Under Drake’s Flag, of which Heid served as the executive producer.

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