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.
James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in a small village near Middlesbrough in Yorkshire. His father was a farm worker. At the age of 17, Cook moved to the coast, settling in Whitby and finding work with a coal merchant. In 1755, Cook enlisted in the Royal Navy, serving in North America where he learnt to survey and chart coastal waters. James Cook led three ambitious circumnavigations that would have a lasting impact on European visions of the Pacific. Read Captain James Cook Full Biography and Profile.