John Hawkins, one of the 1st English slave traders, died at sea off Puerto Rico. Earlier in 1595 he accompanied his second cousin Sir Francis Drake, on a treasure-hunting voyage to the West Indies, involving two unsuccessful attacks on San Juan in Puerto Rico. During the voyage they both fell sick.
John Hawkins formed a syndicate of wealthy merchants to invest in trade, including that of slaves. In 1555, he set sail with three ships for the Caribbean via Sierra Leone. They hijacked a Portuguese slave ship and traded the 301 slaves in the Caribbean. Despite having two ships seized by the Spanish authorities, he sold the slaves in Santo Domingo and thus augmented the profit made by his London investors. His voyage caused the Spanish to ban all English ships from trading in their West Indies colonies .
Hawkins came to the public’s attention again in June 2006, almost 4 1/2 centuries after his death, when his descendant Andrew Hawkins publicly apologized for his ancestor’s actions in the slave trade.
Read more about Hawkins at: Daily Black History Facts