Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Baker, Robert

BAKER, ROBERT (fl. 1562–3), voyager to Guinea, started on his first voyage 'to seeke for golde' in October 1562. The expedition consisted of two ships, the Minion and the Primrose, and was 'set out by Sir William Garrard, Sir William Chester, Mr. Thomas Lodge, Anthony Hickman, and Edward Castelin.' Baker's efforts to traffic with the natives on the Guinea coast were not very successful, and he was wounded in a fight. But he returned home in safety early in 1563. In November of the same year he made a second voyage to 'Guinie and the river of Sesto' as factor in an expedition of two ships, the John Baptist and the Martin, sent out by London merchants. On arriving at Guinea, Baker landed with eight companions to negotiate with the natives, but a storm drove the ships from their moorings, and Baker and his companions were abandoned. After suffering much privation six of the nine men died. The three survivors were rescued by a French ship, and imprisoned in France as prisoners of war; but they appear to have been subsequently released.

Baker wrote accounts in verse of both voyages, which were printed by Richard Hakluyt in his 'Voyages,' in 1589. [Hakluyt's Collections (1810),ii. 518-23; J. H. Moore's Collections of Voyages and Travels, i. 328]