The Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) was an intermittent conflict between the kingdoms of Spain and England that was never formally declared. The war was punctuated by widely separated battles, and began with England's military expedition in 1585 to the Netherlands under the command of the Earl of Leicester in support of the resistance of the States General to Spanish Habsburg rule.
The English enjoyed some victories at Cádiz in 1587, and saw the Spanish Armada retreat in 1588, but then suffered severe defeats of the English Armada in 1589 and the Drake–Hawkins and Essex–Raleigh expeditions in 1595 and 1597 respectively. Two further Spanish armadas were sent in 1596 and 1597 but were frustrated in their objectives mainly because of adverse weather and poor planning.
The war became deadlocked around the turn of the 17th century during campaigns in the Netherlands, France and Ireland. It was brought to an end with the Treaty of London, negotiated in 1604 between representatives of the new King of Spain, Philip III, and the new King of England, James I. England and Spain agreed to cease their military interventions in the Spanish Netherlands and Ireland, respectively, and the English ended high seas privateering.
In the 1560s, Philip II of Spain was faced with increasing religious disturbances as Protestantism gained adherents in his domains in the Low Countries. As a defender of the Catholic Church, he sought to suppress the rising Protestant heresy in his territories, which eventually exploded into open rebellion in 1566. Meanwhile, relations with the regime of Elizabeth I of England continued to deteriorate, following her restoration of royal supremacy over the Church of England through the Act of Supremacy in 1559; this had been first instituted by her father Henry VIII and rescinded by her sister Mary I. The Act was considered by Catholics as a usurpation of papal authority. Calls by leading English Protestants to support the Protestant Dutch rebels against Philip increased tensions further as did the Catholic-Protestant disturbances in France, which saw both sides supporting the opposing French factions.
Complicating matters were commercial disputes. The activities of English sailors, begun by Sir John Hawkins in 1562, gained the tacit support of Elizabeth, even though the Spanish government complained that Hawkins's trade with their colonies in the West Indies constituted smuggling. In September 1568, a slaving expedition led by Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake was surprised by the Spanish, and several ships were captured or sunk at the Battle of San Juan de Ulúa near Veracruz in New Spain. This engagement soured Anglo-Spanish relations and in the following year the English detained several treasure ships sent by the Spanish to supply their army in the Netherlands. Drake and Hawkins intensified their privateering as a way to break the Spanish monopoly on Atlantic trade. Francis Drake went on a privateering voyage where he eventually circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580. Spanish colonial ports were plundered and a number of ships were captured including the treasure galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. When news of his exploits reached Europe, Elizabeth's relations with Philip continued to deteriorate.
Soon after the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580, English support was provided to Prior of Crato who then fought in his struggle with Philip II for the Portuguese throne. Philip in return began to support the Catholic rebellion in Ireland against Elizabeth's religious reforms. Both Philip's and Elizabeth's attempts to support opposing factions were defeated.
In 1584, Philip signed the Treaty of Joinville with the Catholic League of France to stop the rise of Protestantism there. In the Spanish Netherlands, England had secretly supported the side of the Dutch Protestant United Provinces, who were fighting for independence from Spain. In 1584, the Prince of Orange had been assassinated, leaving a sense of alarm as well as a political vacuum. The following year was a further blow to the Dutch with the capture of Antwerp by Spanish forces led by Alexander Farnese, the Duke of Parma. The Dutch rebels sought help from England, which Elizabeth agreed to as she feared that a Spanish reconquest there would threaten England. The Treaty of Nonsuch was signed as a result – Elizabeth agreed to provide the Dutch with men, horses, and subsidies but she declined overall sovereignty. In return the Dutch handed over four Cautionary Towns which were garrisoned by English troops. Philip took this to be an open declaration of war against his rule in the Netherlands.
The Anglo-Spanish War broke out in 1585, following the seizure of English merchant ships in Spanish harbors. In response the English privy council immediately authorised a campaign against the Spanish fishing industry in Newfoundland and off the Grand Banks. The campaign was a huge success, and subsequently led to England's first sustained activity in the Americas. In August, England joined the Eighty Years' War on the side of the Dutch Protestant United Provinces, who had declared their independence from Spain.
The Queen through Francis Walsingham ordered Sir Francis Drake to lead an expedition to attack the Spanish New World in a kind of preemptive strike. Drake sailed in October to the West Indies, and in January 1586 captured and sacked Santo Domingo. The following month they did the same at Cartagena de Indias and in May sailed North to raid St. Augustine in Florida. When Drake arrived in England in July he became a national hero. In Spain however, the news was a disaster and this now further buoyed a Spanish invasion of England by King Philip.
Robert Dudley, The Earl of Leicester was sent to the United Provinces in 1585 with a dignitary party and took the offer of Governor of the United Provinces. This however was met with fury from Elizabeth who had expressed no desire for any sovereignty over the Dutch. An English mercenary army had been present since the beginning of the war and was then under the command of veteran Sir John Norreys. They combined forces but were undermanned and under financed, and faced one of the most powerful armies in Europe led by the famed Alexander Farnese, the Duke of Parma.
During the siege of Grave the following year Dudley attempted its relief but the Dutch garrison commander Hadewij van Hemert surrendered the town to the Spanish. Dudley was furious on hearing of Grave's sudden loss and had van Hemert executed, which shocked the Dutch. The English force then had some successes - taking Axel in July and Doesburg the following month. Dudley’s poor diplomacy with the Dutch however made matters worse. His political base weakened and so too did the military situation. Outside Zutphen an English force was defeated in which notable poet Philip Sidney was mortally wounded, which was a huge blow to English morale. Zutphen itself and Deventer were betrayed by catholic turncoats William Stanley and Rowland York which further damaged Leicester's reputation. Finally Sluis with a largely English garrison was besieged and taken by the Duke of Parma in June 1587 after the Dutch refused to help in the relief. This resulted in mutual recriminations between Leicester and the States.
Leicester soon realised how dire his situation was and then asked to be recalled. He resigned his post as Governor - his tenure was a military and political failure, and as a result he was financially ruined. After Leicester's departure, the Dutch elected the Prince of Orange's son Count Maurice of Nassau as the Stadtholder and Governor. At the same time Peregrine Bertie took over English forces in the Netherlands.
On 8 February 1587, the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots outraged Catholics in Europe, and her claim on the English throne passed (by her own deed of will) to Philip. In retaliation for the execution of Mary, Philip vowed to invade England to place a Catholic monarch on its throne. In April 1587 Philip's preparations suffered a setback when Francis Drake burned 37 Spanish ships in the harbour of Cádiz, and as a result the invasion of England had to be postponed for over a year.
On 29 July, Philip obtained Papal authority to overthrow Elizabeth, who had been excommunicated by Pope Pius V, and place whomever he chose on the throne of England. He assembled a fleet of about 130 ships, containing 8,000 soldiers and 18,000 sailors. To finance this endeavour, Pope Sixtus V had permitted Philip to collect crusade taxes. Sixtus had promised a further subsidy to the Spanish should they reach English soil.
On 28 May 1588, the Armada under the command of Duke of Medina Sidonia set sail for the Netherlands, where it was to pick up additional troops for the invasion of England. As the armada sailed through the English channel, the English navy led by Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham and Francis Drake fought a battle of attrition with the Spanish from Plymouth to Portland and then to the Solent, preventing them from securing any English harbours. The Spanish were forced to withdraw to Calais. While the Spanish were at anchor there in a crescent-shaped defensive formation, the English used fireships to break the formation and scatter the Spanish ships. In the subsequent Battle of Gravelines the English navy inflicted a defeat on the Armada and forced it to sail northward in more dangerous stormy waters on the long way home. As they sailed around Scotland, the Armada suffered severe damage and loss of life from stormy weather. As they approached the West coast of Ireland more damaging stormy conditions forced ships ashore while others were wrecked. Disease took a heavy toll as the fleet finally limped back to port.
Philip's invasion plans had miscarried partly because of unfortunate weather and his own mismanagement, and partly because the opportunistic defensive naval efforts of the English and their Dutch allies prevailed. The defeat of the Armada provided valuable seafaring experience for English oceanic mariners. While the English were able to persist in their privateering against the Spanish and continue sending troops to assist Philip II's enemies in the Netherlands and France, these efforts brought few tangible rewards. One of the most important effects of the event was that the Armada's failure was seen as a sign that God supported the Protestant Reformation in England. One of the medals struck to celebrate the English victory bore the Latin/Hebrew inscription Flavit יהוה et Dissipati Sunt (literally: "Yahweh blew and they were scattered"; traditionally translated more freely as: "He blew with His winds, and they were scattered".)
An English counter armada under the command of Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Norreys was prepared in 1589 to torch the Spanish Atlantic navy, which was refitting in Santander, Corunna and San Sebastián in northern Spain. It was also intended to capture the incoming Spanish treasure fleet and expel the Spanish from Portugal (ruled by Philip since 1580) in favour of the Prior of Crato. The English fleet departed from Plymouth on April 13 but was then delayed for nearly two weeks by bad weather. Drake as a result had to bypass Santander where the majority of the Spanish fleet were being refitted.
On May 4, the English force eventually arrived at Corunna where the lower town was captured and plundered, and a number of merchant ships were seized. Norreys then won a modest victory over a Spanish relief militia force at Puente del Burgo. When the English pressed the attack on the citadel, however, they were repulsed. In addition a number of English ships were captured by Spanish naval forces. With the failure to capture Corunna the English departed and headed towards Lisbon, but owing to poor organisation and lack of co-ordination (they had very few siege guns) the invading force also failed to take Lisbon. The expected uprising by the Portuguese loyal to Crato never materialised. With Portuguese and Spanish reinforcements arriving the English retreated and headed North where Drake sacked and burned Vigo. Sickness then struck the expedition, and finally a portion of the fleet led by Drake headed towards the Azores, which was then scattered in a storm. Drake then took the best part of the fleet and plundered Porto Santo in Madeira before they limped back to Plymouth.
The English Armada was arguably misconceived and ended in failure overall. In the end, Elizabeth sustained a severe loss to her treasury.
Soon after the defeat of the Armada, the Duke of Parma's force stood down from the invasion. In the autumn Parma moved his force North towards Bergen op Zoom and then attempted to besiege the English-held town with a substantial force. The English in a ruse however managed to repel the Spanish and forced Parma's retreat with heavy losses which boosted both Dutch and English morale. The following year Bertie under orders from the Queen left for France with a force to help the Protestants in their fight against the Catholic League. Sir Francis Vere assumed command of English forces thereafter - a position he retained during fifteen campaigns, with almost unbroken success.
In 1590 an Anglo-Dutch force under Maurice and Vere respectively launched a campaign with the aim of taking Breda. In a remarkable feat a small assault force hid in a peat barge before a successful surprise assault that captured the city. With Spanish forces in France supporting the Catholic League as well as in the Low Countries, Maurice was able to take advantage, and thus started the gradual recapture of the Netherlands. This was known by the Dutch as the 'Ten glory years'. Soon after Breda the Anglo-Dutch retook Zutphen and Deventer which restored English prestige after their earlier betrayals. After defeating the Spanish under the Duke of Parma at Knodsenberg in 1591 a new confidence in the army took shape. English troops by this time composed nearly half of the Dutch army. The reconquest continued with Hulst, Nijmegen, Geertruidenberg, Steenwijk and Coevorden all being taken within the next two years. In 1593 a Spanish attempt led by Francisco Verdugo to recapture Coevorden ended in failure when the Anglo-Dutch under Maurice and Vere relieved the place during the Spring of 1594. Finally the capture of Groningen in the summer of 1594 resulted in the Spanish army being forced out of the Northern provinces which led to the complete restoration of the seven provinces.
After these successes Elizabeth could view the high confidence in the army and renewed the treaty with the States in 1595. English troops having been given high praise by the Dutch were kept at around 4,000 men. They were to be paid for by the States and the Queen would also be repaid on the Crowns expenses in instalments until a conclusion of peace was made.
In 1595, Maurice's campaign was resumed to retake the cities of the Twente region from the Spanish. This was delayed after Huy was besieged in March but Maurice was unable to prevent its fall. When Maurice did go on the offensive an attempt to take Grol in July ended in failure when a Spanish force under a 90 year old veteran Cristóbal de Mondragón relieved the city. Maurice then tried to make an attempt on the city of Rheinberg in September but Mondragon defeated this move at the Battle of the Lippe. Maurice was then forced to cancel further planned offensives as the bulk of his English and Scots troops were withdrawn to take part in the attack on Cadiz. The Spanish under the new commander Archduke of Austria took advantage of this lull and recaptured Hulst the following year which led to a prolonged stalemate in the campaign and delayed the reconquest.
In this period of respite, the Spanish were able to refit and retool their navy, partly along English lines. The pride of the fleet were named The Twelve Apostles – twelve massive new galleons – and the navy proved itself to be far more effective than it had been before 1588. A sophisticated convoy system and improved intelligence networks frustrated English naval attempts on the Spanish treasure fleet during the 1590s. This was best demonstrated by the repulse of the squadron that was led by Effingham in 1591 near the Azores, who had intended to ambush the treasure fleet. It was in this battle that the Spanish captured the English flagship, the Revenge, after a stubborn resistance by its captain, Sir Richard Grenville. Throughout the 1590s, enormous convoy escorts enabled the Spanish to ship three times as much silver as in the previous decade.
English merchant privateers or corsairs known as Elizabeth's Sea dogs however enjoyed more qualified success. In the three years after the Spanish armada more than 300 prizes were taken from the Spanish with a declared total value of well over £400,000. English courtiers provided money for their own expeditions as well as others, and even Elizabeth herself would make investments. The Earl of Cumberland made a number of expeditions and a few did yield profit - his first being the Azores Voyage in 1589. Others failed however due to bad weather and his 1591 voyage ended in defeat with Spanish galleys off Berlengas. Cumberland with Sir Walter Raleigh and Martin Frobisher combined financial strength and force that led to the most successful English naval expedition of the war. Off Flores island in 1592 in a naval battle the English fleet captured a large rich Portuguese carrack, the Madre de Deus as well as having outwitted a Spanish fleet led by Alonso de Bazán. The expedition's reward equalled nearly half the size of the Kingdom of England's royal annual revenue and yielded Elizabeth a 20-fold return on her investment. These riches gave the English an excited enthusiasm to engage in this opulent commerce. Raleigh himself in 1595 went on an expedition to explore the Orinoco river in an attempt to find the mythical city of El Dorado in the process the English plundered the Spanish settlement of Trinidad. Raleigh however exaggerated the wealth there on his return to England. Supporting Raleigh with his expedition was another led by Amyas Preston and George Somers known as the Preston Somers expedition to South America notable for a daring overland assault that saw the capture of Caracas.
Many of the expeditions were financed by famed London merchants, the most notable of these being John Watts. An expedition Watts financed to Portuguese Brazil led by James Lancaster saw the capture and plunder of Recife and Olinda - which was highly profitable for both. In response to English privateering against their merchantmen, the Spanish monarchy struck back with the Dunkirkers devastating English shipping and fishing in the largely undefended seas around England.
By far the most successful English privateer was Christopher Newport who was backed financially by Watts. Newport set out in 1590 to raid the Spanish West Indies and in the ensuing fight saw the defeat of an armed Spanish convoy but Newport lost his right arm in the process. Despite this Newport continued the ventures - the blockade of Western Cuba in 1591 was the most successful English privateering venture made during the war. Both Drake and Hawkins died of disease on the later 1595–96 expedition against Puerto Rico, Panama, and other targets in the Spanish Main, a severe setback in which the English suffered heavy losses in soldiers and ships despite a number of minor military victories.
During the summer of 1596, an Anglo-Dutch expedition under Elizabeth's young favourite, the Earl of Essex, sacked Cádiz, causing significant loss to the Spanish fleet, leaving the city in ruins and delaying a projected descent on England. The allies were unable to capture the treasure, as the Spanish commander had time to torch the treasure ships in port, sending the treasure to the bottom of the harbour, from where it was later recovered. Despite its failure to capture the treasure fleet, the sack of Cádiz was celebrated as a national triumph comparable to the victory over the Spanish Armada, and for a time Essex's prestige rivalled Elizabeth's own.
The Crown instead of controlling and taxing its subjects, competed with them for private profit, a race it failed to win, as the great naval expeditions were on the whole unprofitable. The last of the great English naval expeditions took place in 1597, led by the Earl of Essex known as the Islands Voyage. The objective was to destroy the Spanish fleet and intercept a treasure fleet in the Azores. Neither was achieved and the expedition ended in failure, and Essex on his return was scolded by the Queen for not protecting the English coast.
In the final years of the war, English privateering continued despite the strengthening of Spanish navy convoys – Cumberland's last expedition in 1598 to the Caribbean led to the capture of San Juan, and had succeeded where Drake had failed. Newport struck at Tobasco in 1599 while William Parker successfully raided Portobello in 1601. Finally in 1603 Christopher Cleeve struck at Santiago de Cuba and in the last raid of the war Newport plundered Puerto Caballos.
By the end of the war English privateering had devastated the Spanish private merchant marine. The most famous pirates lauded by English literature and propaganda tended to attack fishing vessels or boats with small value for the Spanish crown. Spanish prizes though were taken at an attritional rate; nearly 1,000 were captured by the wars end, and there was on average a declared value of approximately £100,000-£200,000 for every year of the war. In addition for every Spanish prize brought back, another was either burned or scuttled, and the presence of so many English corsairs even deterred Spanish merchantman from putting to sea. This all later resulted in Spanish and Portuguese commerce being carried on Dutch and English ships which in itself created competition. Nevertheless throughout the war Spain’s important treasure fleets had been kept safe by their convoy system.
By 1597, Spanish bankruptcy and the war in France gave the Anglo-Dutch an advantage. At the Battle of Turnout a Spanish force was surprised and routed - Vere and Sir Robert Sydney distinguished themselves particularly. With the Spanish distracted by the siege of Amiens in France Maurice launched an offensive in the summer. This time both Rhienberg and Greonlo were finally taken. This was followed by the capture of Bredevoort, Enschede, Ootsmarsum, Oldenzaal and finally Lingen by the end of the year. The offensive success meant that most of the Republic had been recaptured and a significant barrier had been created along the Rhine river.
In 1598, the Spanish under Francisco Mendoza retook Rheinberg and Meurs in a campaign known as the Spanish winter of 1598-99. Mendoza then attempted to take Bommelerwaard island but the Dutch and English under Maurice thwarted the attempt and defeated him at Zaltbommel. Mendoza retreated from the area and the defeat resulted in chaos in the Spanish army - mutinies took place and many deserted. The following year the Dutch senate led by Johan van Oldenbarneveldt saw the chaos in the Spanish army and decided the time was ripe for a focal point of the war to be concentrated in Catholic Flanders. Despite a bitter dispute between Maurice and van Oldenbarneveldt, the Dutch and a sizeable contingent of the English Army under Francis Vere reluctantly agreed. They used Ostend (still in Dutch hands) as a base to invade Flanders. Their aim was to conquer the privateer stronghold city of Dunkirk. In 1600 they advanced toward Dunkirk and in a pitched battle the Anglo-Dutch inflicted a rare defeat on the Tercio led Spanish army at the Battle of Nieuwpoort in which the English played a major part. Dunkirk was never attempted however as disputes in the Dutch command meant that taking Spanish occupied cities in the rest of the Republic took priority. Maurice's force thus withdrew leaving Vere to command Ostend in the face of an imminent Spanish siege.
With the siege of Ostend under way, Maurice then went on the offensive on the Rhine frontier in the summer of 1600. Rheinberg and Meurs were thus retaken from the Spanish yet again, although an attempt on s'Hertogenbosch failed during the winter months. At Ostend in January 1602 after being reinforced, Vere faced a huge Spanish assault organised by the Archduke and in bitter fighting this was repelled with heavy losses. Vere left the city soon after and joined Maurice in the field, while Albert was replaced Ambrogio Spinola. The siege there dragged on for another two years as the Spanish attempted to take Ostend's strongpoints in a costly war of attrition. Around the same time Maurice continued – his campaign Grave was retaken but Vere was severely wounded during the siege. An attempt by the Dutch and English to relieve Ostend took place in mid 1604 but the inland of port of Sluis was besieged and captured instead. Soon after the Ostend garrison finally surrendered, after a siege of nearly four years and costing thousands of lives – for the Spanish it was a pyrrhic victory.
Normandy added a new front in the war and the threat of another invasion attempt across the channel. In 1590, the Spanish landed a considerable force in Brittany to assist the French Catholic League, expelling the English and Huguenot forces from much of the area. Henry IV's conversion to Catholicism in 1593 won him widespread French support for his claim to the throne, particularly in Paris (where he was crowned the following year), a city that he had unsuccessfully besieged in 1590. However, in 1594 Anglo-French forces were able to end Spanish hopes of using the large port of Brest as a launching point for an invasion of England by capturing Fort Crozon.
The French civil war turned increasingly against the hardliners of the French Catholic League. With the signing of the Triple Alliance in 1596 between France, England and the Dutch, Elizabeth sent a further 2,000 troops to France after the Spanish took Calais. In September 1597 Anglo-French forces under Henry retook Amiens, just six months after the Spanish took the city, bringing to a halt a string of Spanish victories. The first tentative talks on peace had already begun before the battle. The League hardliners started to lose ground and popular support throughout France to a resurgent Henry. In addition Spanish finances were at breaking point because of fighting wars in France, the Netherlands and against England. Therefore, a deeply ill Philip decided to end his support for the League and to finally recognize the legitimacy of Henry's accession to the French throne. Without Spanish support the last League hardliners were quickly defeated. In May 1598, the two kings signed the Peace of Vervins ending the last of the religious civil wars and the Spanish intervention with it.
In 1594, the Nine Years' War in Ireland had begun, when Ulster lords Hugh O'Neill and Red Hugh O'Donnell rose up against English rule with fitful Spanish support, mirroring the English support of the Dutch rebellion. While English forces were containing the rebels in Ireland at great cost in men, general suffering and finance, the Spanish attempted two further armadas, in 1596 and 1597: the first was shattered in a storm off northern Spain, and the second was frustrated by adverse weather as it approached the English coast. King Philip II died in 1598, and his successor Philip III continued the war but was less determined.
At the end of 1601, a final armada was sent north, this time a limited expedition intended to land troops in southern Ireland to assist the rebels. The Spanish entered the town of Kinsale with 3,000 troops and were immediately besieged by the English. In time, their Irish allies arrived to surround the besieging force but the lack of communication with the rebels led to an English victory at the Battle of Kinsale. Rather than attempt to hold Kinsale as a base to harry English shipping, the Spanish accepted terms of surrender and returned home, while the Irish rebels hung on, surrendering in 1603, just after Elizabeth died.
The new king of England, James I, was the Protestant son and successor to the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, whose execution had been a proximate cause of the war. James regarded himself as the peacemaker of Europe, and the ultimate aim of his idealistic foreign policy was the reunion of Christendom. Therefore, when James came to the English throne, his first order of business was to negotiate a peace with Philip III of Spain.
With the end of the war in France the new King of Spain Philip III sought peace with England. By 1598 the war had become long and costly for Spain. England and Dutch republic too were war weary and both sides felt the need for peace. At the peace of Boulogne in 1600 however Spanish demands were adamantly rejected by the English and Dutch. Nevertheless, diplomatic routes were open between the Archduke of Austria and his wife Infanta Isabella (Philip's sister) who differed in their policies to Philip's. Philip wanted to preserve the hegemony of the Spanish empire, whilst the Archduke and Isabella sought peace and friendly relations.
Soon after victory in Ireland the following year the English navy under Richard Leveson conducted a blockade of Spain; the first of its kind. Off Portugal they sailed into Sesimbra bay where a fleet of eight Spanish galleys under Federico Spinola (brother of Ambrogio) and Álvaro de Bazán were present. Spinola had already established his base at Sluis in Flanders, and was gathering more with an intent on a potential strike against England. In June 1602 Leveson defeated the Spanish which resulted in two galleys sunk and the capture of a rich Portuguese carrack. Months later in the English channel Spinola's galley fleet gathered more galleys and sailed through the English channel once more but was defeated again by an Anglo-Dutch naval squadron off the Dover straits. The result of this action forced the Spanish to cease further naval operations against England for the remainder of the war.
The treaty restored the status quo ante bellum, and the terms of the treaty were favourable both to Spain and England. For Spain the treaty secured her position as a leading power in the world. Spain's upgrading of the convoy system had allowed it to defend its treasure fleets and retain its New World colonies. English support for the Dutch rebellion against the Spanish king, the original cause of the war, had ended. The Spanish would then concentrate their efforts on the Dutch in order to bring them to their knees with a knockout blow. A complete abandonment of the Dutch cause however was not promised in the treaty. The English held cautionary towns in Holland on the other hand were not surrendered despite Spanish demands. The sieges of Ostend and Sluis were allowed to continue until the end of those respective campaigns. The Dutch by 1607 had in fact prevailed - the Spanish did not deliver their knock out blow they had hoped for; the Twelve Year Truce formally recognized the independence of the Republic.
For England the treaty made sure the Protestant reformation there had been protected, and James and his ministers refused the Spanish demand for Catholic toleration in England. After the defeat at Kinsale in 1602, the Treaty of Mellifont was concluded the following year between James I and the Irish rebels. In the subsequent London treaty Spain pledged not to support the rebels. English public opinion however showed that the peace treaty was highly unpopular and many considered it a "humiliating peace". Many felt that the King had abandoned the Netherlands, their old ally, in order to appease the Spanish Crown and relations with James's subjects were strained in the following years.
The agreement was well received in Spain. Big public celebrations were held at Valladolid, the Spanish capital, where the treaty was ratified in June 1605, in the presence of a large English ambassadorial delegation led by Lord Admiral Charles Howard. Some members of the Catholic clergy however questioned Philip III's arrangements with a "heretical power".
The provisions of the treaty authorised merchants and warships of both nations to operate from each other's respective ports. English trade with the Spanish Netherlands (notably the city of Antwerp) and the Iberian peninsula was resumed. Spanish warships and privateers were able to use English ports as naval bases to attack Dutch shipping or to ferry troops to Flanders.
The war had also diverted Tudor colonial efforts, but the English who had invested in privateering expeditions during the war garnered enormous windfall profits leaving them well placed to finance new ventures. As a result the London Company were able to establish a settlement in Virginia in 1607. The establishment of the East India Company in 1600, was significant for the growth of England (and later Great Britain) as a colonial power. A factory was established at Banten, Java, in 1603 while the Company had successfully and profitably breached the Spanish and Portuguese monopoly. While the incipient illegal trade with the Spanish colonies was brought to an end, there was deadlock over English demands for the right to trade in the East and West Indies, which Spain adamantly opposed. Eventually the complications resulted in the treaty avoiding any mention of the matter.
For Spain there was hope that England would eventually secure tolerance for Catholics but the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 however destroyed any possibility of this. As a result it put to rest Protestant fears that a peace with Spain would ultimately mean an invasion by Jesuits and Catholic sympathisers as the Elizabethan Recusancy laws were rigidly enforced by parliament.
England and Spain remained at peace until 1625.
The Action off Bermuda also known as Grenville’s action off the Bermuda’s was a minor naval engagement that took place off the island of Bermuda over three days in late August 1585 during the Anglo–Spanish War between an English Galleass, Tiger and a larger Spanish galleon, Santa Maria de San Vicente. Tiger was victorious when the Spanish ship surrendered after a severe bombardment.Alonso de Bazán
Alonso de Bazán, son of Admiral Álvaro de Bazán the Elder, Marquis del Viso, and brother of the better known Admiral Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquis of Santa Cruz, was a Spanish naval commander during the Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604) and the Eighty Years' War.Attack on Cawsand
The Attack on Cawsand was a minor Spanish raid on the coast of Cornwall, England, on the night of 14 March 1596 during the Anglo-Spanish War.In August 1595 the area of Mount's Bay in Cornwall had been attacked by a Spanish raiding force led by Carlos de Amésquita. In that attack over two days, Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole and Paul were raided and torched.In March 1596 a Spanish pinnace arrived in Cawsand Bay just below Mount Edgcumbe with upwards of 25 men armed with muskets. The Spanish managed to land on the beach and made their way to the village. They fixed barrels of gunpowder and brimstone to the doors of several houses and to two boats in the harbour, setting them on fire. The Spanish were spotted by one member of the militia who had gone ahead of the main force; he promptly opened fire with a caliver, scaring the intruders off. Shortly after, the main militia force arrived in the village from Plymouth in time to prevent the fire from spreading to the whole settlement.The defences were strengthened as it was feared that the Spanish would try again. The heights were then manned by 170 pikemen, 300 musketeers and cavalry commanded by Sir Nicholas Parker and maintained by sole expense of Richard Carew.The Spanish would try much larger descents on the British isles; an attempt in October the same year known as the 2nd Spanish Armada failed due to storms. The following year an attempted landing also failed after a storm in the English channel dispersed the fleet and a number of ships were captured.A second naval raid on the area took place on 26 April 1599, when four Spanish warships captured five fishing boats from Plymouth Sound.Battle of Bayona Islands (1590)
The Battle of Bayona Islands, also known as the Battle of Bayona Bay, was a naval engagement that took place in early of 1590, off Bayona Islands (present-day Cíes Islands), near Bayona (or Baiona) and Vigo, Spain, between a small Spanish naval force commanded by Captain Don Pedro de Zubiaur, and an Anglo-Dutch flotilla of 14 ships, during the Eighty Years' War, and in the context of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) and the French Wars of Religion. After several hours of hard combat, the Spanish naval force composed by three flyboats, achieved a great success, and the Anglo-Dutch fleet was totally defeated. The flagship of the Dutch was boarded and captured, including another six ships more. Finally, the rest of the Dutch fleet was forced to surrender. Shortly after, Pedro de Zubiaur arriving at Ferrol, along with the captured ships, with great surprise for the Spanish authorities of the port.Battle of Blaye
The Battle of Blaye of 1593, also known as the Battle of Bec d'Ambès (in French) or Battle of the Gironde Estuary, was a naval Spanish victory that took place on 18 April 1593 off Blaye and Bec d'Ambès, Gironde Estuary, France, during the seven-month siege of Blaye between the French-Protestant forces of Henry of Navarre and the French-Catholic garrison of the city led by Governor Jean-Paul d'Esparbès de Lussan d'Aubeterre, in the context of the French Wars of Religion and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).Battle of Gembloux (1578)
The Battle of Gembloux took place at Gembloux, near Namur, Low Countries, between the Spanish forces led by Don John of Austria (Spanish: Don Juan de Austria), Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, and a rebel army composed of Dutch, Flemish, English, Scottish, German, French and Walloon soldiers under Antoine de Goignies, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). On 31 January 1578 the Spanish cavalry commanded by John's nephew, Don Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma (Italian: Alessandro Farnese, Spanish: Alejandro Farnesio), after pushing back the Netherlandish cavalry, attacked the Netherlandish army, causing an enormous panic amongst the rebel troops. The result was a crushing victory for the Spanish forces. The battle hastened the disintegration of the unity of the rebel provinces, and meant the end of the Union of Brussels.Battle of Guadalupe Island (1595)
The Battle of Guadalupe Island, also known as the Battle of Guadalupe, was a naval action that took place off Guadalupe Island (French: Guadeloupe), Caribbean Sea, on 8 November 1595, between a Spanish force of five frigates commanded by Don Pedro Tello de Guzmán and Don Gonzalo Méndez de Cancio (who was appointed Admiral on 19 August 1595), and an English squadron of nine ships (rear of Francis Drake's fleet), during the unsuccessful English military expedition of 1595 against Spain and their possessions, led by Sir Francis Drake himself, Sir John Hawkins and Sir Thomas Baskerville, as the context of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). The result was a Spanish victory. One of the English ships, the Francis, was captured and the others fled from the battle. Then, knowing Drake's plans, the Spanish flotilla took advantage over the bulk of Drake's fleet, and arrived at San Juan on 13 November, reinforcing the town with 500 soldiers and supplies. The Spaniards organized different artillery positions in strategic locations, and the five frigates were positioned to cover the entrance of the bay with their artillery, awaiting the arrival of Drake. On 22 November, with the defenses completed, the English fleet arrived off San Juan and tried to invade the town. The result was another Spanish victory over Drake's forces.Battle of Pinos
The Battle of Pinos was a naval engagement between a Spanish fleet under Admiral Bernardino Delgadillo y Avellaneda and the surviving ships of Francis Drake's expedition to the Spanish West Indies, now in command of Drake's lieutenant, Sir Thomas Baskerville, which took place off the Island of Pinos during the Anglo-Spanish war of 1585. The Spanish squadron was victorious, capturing two English ships.Battle of the Bay of Biscay (1592)
The Battle of the Bay of Biscay of 1592 was a naval engagement that took place in waters of the Bay of Biscay, in November 1592, between a Spanish naval force of 5 flyboats commanded by Captain Don Pedro de Zubiaur and an English convoy of 40 ships, supported by a 6-warships squadron, during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) and the French Wars of Religion. The Spanish force led by Captain Zubiaur, despite being outnumbered, engaged the English ships, achieving a resounding success. The English flagship was boarded and burned, causing great confusion among the English convoy. Shortly after, another English force composed by six warships (sent by Queen Elizabeth I of England to Bordeaux to support the French Protestants), arrived at the battle, and tried to defend the convoy. After a long an intense fighting, the Spaniards were victorious in battle, and three English ships more were captured, besides several ships seriously damaged.The next year, on 18 April, in the same waters, another English naval force, commanded by Peter Houghton, was defeated by Zubiaur's naval forces off the coasts of Blaye, town besieged by land and sea by Protestant forces in the context of the French Wars of Religion.Battle of the Gulf of Almería (1591)
The Battle of the Gulf of Almería, also known as the Battle of Almería Bay or the Battle of Cape of Palos, was a naval Spanish victory that took place in late August, 1591, off Almería, near the Cape Palos, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604). The battle occurred when the Spanish fleet of the Adelantado of Castile, Don Martín de Padilla y Manrique, Count of Santa Gadea (in their return from the Republic of Venice to Spain with a valuable goods), sighted an Anglo-Dutch fleet in the waters of Almería, in the southern coast of Spain. The Spanish fleet, led by Martín de Padilla, attacked with such fury the Anglo-Dutch fleet who managed to undo their training, achieving a great success. About 20 Dutch ships and 3 English ships were captured by the Spaniards, and some ships of the rest of the Anglo-Dutch fleet were seriously damaged. On the other hand, the Spanish losses were minimal.After the battle, the Spanish fleet victorious, entered the port of Almeria with the captured ships.Battle of the Gulf of Cadiz (1604)
The Battle of the Gulf of Cádiz was a naval action which occurred on 7 August 1604, during the very last days of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). The battle took place when a flotilla of two galleons commanded by Antonio de Oquendo engaged two English privateers who were plundering shipping lanes and villages around the Gulf of Cádiz. One of the English ships was captured and the other damaged. Later in his life, Antonio de Oquendo led the Spanish fleet that was utterly defeated by the Dutch at the Battle of the Downs in 1639. Oquendo's action off Cádiz is notable for having been fought just 21 days before the signing of the Treaty of London, which ended the protracted war between England and Spain.Capture of Cádiz
The Capture of Cádiz in 1596 was an event during the Anglo-Spanish War, when English and Dutch troops under Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and a large Anglo-Dutch fleet under Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, with support from the Dutch United Provinces, raided the Spanish city of Cádiz.
Due to the Spanish commander's lack of foresight and organisation, the Anglo-Dutch forces met little resistance. In order to deny the raiders their prize the Spanish set fire to their fleet anchored in the Bay of Cádiz; the attacking forces disembarked, captured, sacked and burned the city and took hostage several of the city's prominent citizens, who were taken back to England to await payment of their ransom.
The economic losses caused during the sacking were numerous: the city was burned, as was the fleet, in what was one of the principal English victories in the course of the war. Despite its failure in its primary objective of seizing the Spanish treasure fleet's silver, the raid contributed to Spain's declaration of bankruptcy the following year.Capture of Portobello (1601)
The Capture of Portobello was a military event during the Anglo–Spanish War in which an English expedition under the command of William Parker assaulted and took Portobello from the Spanish, acquired some booty and then sacked the place.Islands Voyage
The Islands Voyage, also known as the Essex-Raleigh Expedition, was an ambitious, but unsuccessful naval campaign sent by Queen Elizabeth I of England, and supported by the United Provinces, against Spain during the Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604) and the Eighty Years' War.Pedro de Zubiaur
Pedro de Zubiaur, Zubiaurre or Çubiaurre (Ziortza Bolibar, Biscay, 1540 – Dover, 1605) was a Spanish soldier and sailor of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) who started his naval career in 1568 and won several victories over the English for Philip II of Spain, the most famous of them during the relief of Blaye. He captured six English ships from Raleigh's fleet near cap Finisterre in 1592. After the war, in 1605, he was put in command of 18 ships charged with transporting troops to Dunkirk but on the way they met a Dutch fleet of 80 ships under admiral Hatwain. Zubiaur was severally wounded in the ensuing battle. After losing two ships and 400 men, he managed to find shelter at Dover, under the protection of the English artillery, now allied to Spain. His injuries, however, were so serious that he died there some days later. His body was transported to Bilbao for burial.Raid on Santiago de Cuba (1603)
The Capture of Santigao De Cuba was a minor military event that took place towards the end of the Anglo–Spanish War in May 1603. Santiago de Cuba was attacked and sacked by English privateers led by Christopher Cleeve.Siege of Morlaix (1594)
The Siege of Morlaix took place from 6 September to 17 September 1594 during the French Wars of Religion and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). The siege was fought between the French Royal army under Jean VI d'Aumont reinforced by an English contingent under Sir John Norreys who besieged the town of Morlaix, which was held by the combined forces of Spain and the Catholic League of France. A relief force of Spanish troops under the Juan del Águila and another of Leaguers under the Duke of Mercœur were turned back by an English force under John Norreys. With the arrival of a fleet of English ships under Martin Frobisher the garrison swiftly surrendered.Singeing the King of Spain's Beard
Singeing the King of Spain's Beard is the derisive name given to the attack in April and May 1587 in the Bay of Cádiz, by the English privateer Francis Drake against the Spanish naval forces assembling at Cádiz. Much of the Spanish fleet was destroyed, and substantial supplies were destroyed or captured. There followed a series of raiding parties against several forts along the Portuguese coast. A Spanish treasure ship, returning from the Indies, was also captured. The damage caused by the English delayed Spanish plans to invade England by more than a year, yet did not dispel them.Treaty of Nonsuch
The Treaty of Nonsuch was signed on 19 August 1585 by Elizabeth I of England and the Dutch Rebels fighting against Spanish rule. It was the first international treaty signed by what would become the Dutch Republic. It was signed at Nonsuch Palace, Surrey, England.
Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)