Born in 1532 in Plymouth, England, John Hawkins established himself as a merchant and slave trader, eventually having hostile encounters with Spanish naval forces. John Hawkins was England’s first slave trader. In 1562 he sailed from The Barbican in Plymouth with three ships and violently kidnapped about 400 Africans in Guinea, later trading them in the West Indies. Between 1562 and 1567 Hawkins and his cousin Francis Drake made three voyages to Guinea and Sierra Leone and enslaved between 1,200 and 1,400 Africans. Read John Hawkins Biography and Profile.