Defeat of the Spanish Armada
The Spanish Armada was a fleet assembled and dispatched by King Phillip II of Spain in attempt to invade England in 1588. His attempt was unsuccessful. Queen Elizabeth I of England held the defeat of the armada as one of her greatest achievements, assisting the decline of the Spanish Empire. The armada had a mission of both political and religious aims. King Phillip, the leader of the Roman Catholic Spain, was not able to stop a revolt in of his Protestant subjects in the Netherlands, a revolt which began in 1566, aided by Protestant England. By 1586, Phillip had decided that he could not defeat the Dutch until he had defeated England first. Long time religious rivalry between Spain and England was hoped to be resolved by King Phillip in the dethroning of Queen Elizabeth, reconverting England to Catholicism. The plan for conquering had begun. This plan consisted of the coordination of a fleet to sail from Spain and an army from the Netherlands to create a simultaneous invasion of England. His force of 130 ships and more than 30,000 men was to be led by Alonso Peréz Guzmán, duke of Medina- Sidonia. England was aware of the Spanish plans, attacking it at Cádiz, Spain in 1587, succeeding in delaying it for a year. By July of 1588, the armada was spotted off the coast of England on July 29. Lord Charles Howard intercepted it with a larger English fleet near Plymouth, and for the next week made small attacks on the Spanish in battles off of Plymouth, Portland Bill, and the Isle of Wight. Unable to break the Spanish Armada, they waited for their chance at a big blow. The opportunity finally arrived when the armada anchored near Calais, France, hoping to join troops scheduled to sail from the Netherlands. Ingeniously, Howard ordered ships set on fire to be sent against the armada, producing a panic that broke the Spanish formation. In the ensuing battle of Gravelines, on August 8, the Spanish were defeated by England and the armada sailed home with remaining ships that were heavily damaged to Spain; 67 of the original 130 ships reached Spain, most in poor condition.
The War however between England and Spain lasted until 1604, despite the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Yet the defeat brought about English nationalism, securing Protestantism as Englands state religion. In contrast, for Spain it was a humiliating defeat, nearly destroying the national treasury of Spain.
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"Defeat of the Spanish
The Spanish Armada"
"Defeat of the Spanish
"Spanish Armada Fact
Books that we consulted (for pictures)
See our Bibliography page
Mattingly, Garrett. The
Defeat of the Spanish Armada. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1959.
Contains some great battleship pictures.
Smith, Lacey Baldwin. Horizon
Book of the Elizabethan World. New York City: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc.,
Another book with a lot of great pictures
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