Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada (Spanish: Grande y Felicísima Armada, lit. 'Great and Most Fortunate Navy') was a Habsburg Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruña in late May 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. Medina Sidonia was an aristocrat without naval command experience but was made commander by King Philip II. The aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her establishment of Protestantism in England, to stop English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering ships that interfered with Spanish interests in America.

English ships sailed from Plymouth to attack the Armada, and were faster and more manoeuvrable than the larger Spanish Galleons, enabling them to fire on the Armada without loss as it sailed east off the south coast of England. There was an opportunity for the Armada to anchor in the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the English mainland and to occupy the Isle of Wight, but Medina Sidonia was under orders from King Philip II to meet up with the Duke of Parma's forces in The Netherlands. This was so that England could be invaded by Parma's soldiers and other soldiers carried in ships of the Armada. Meanwhile, damage to the Armada had been done by English guns and a Spanish ship had been captured by Sir Francis Drake in the English Channel.

The Armada anchored off Calais.[25] While awaiting communications from Duke of Parma, the Armada was scattered by an English fireship night attack and abandoned its rendezvous with Parma's army, who were blockaded in harbour by Dutch flyboats. In the ensuing Battle of Gravelines the Spanish fleet was further damaged and were in risk of running aground on the Dutch coast when the wind changed. The Armada, driven by southwest winds, withdrew north, with the English fleet harrying it up the east coast of England. On return to Spain round the north of Scotland and south around Ireland, the Armada was disrupted further by storms. A large number of ships were wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland and over a third of the initial 130 ships failed to return.[26] As Martin and Parker explain, "Philip II attempted to invade England, but his plans miscarried. This was due to his own mismanagement including appointing an aristocrat without naval experience as commander of the Armada, unfortunate weather, and the opposition of the English and their Dutch allies including the use of fire-ships sailed into the anchored Armada."[27].

The expedition was the largest engagement of the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). The following year, England organised a similar large-scale campaign against Spain, the English Armada, sometimes called the "counter-Armada of 1589".


The word armada is from the Spanish: armada, which is cognate with English army. Originally from the Latin: armāta, the past participle of armāre, 'to arm', used in Romance languages as a noun for armed force, army, navy, fleet.[28] Armada Española is still the Spanish term for the modern Spanish Navy. Armada (originally from its armadas) was also the Portuguese traditional term (now alternative, but in common use) of the Portuguese Navy.



Henry VIII began the English Reformation as a political exercise over his desire to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Over time it became increasingly aligned with the Protestant reformation taking place in Europe, especially during the reign of Henry's son, Edward VI. Edward died childless, and his half-sister Mary I ascended the throne. A devout Catholic, Mary (with her co-monarch and husband, Philip II of Spain) began to reassert Roman influence over church affairs. Her attempts led to over 260 people being burned at the stake, earning her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.[29]

Mary's death in 1558 led to her half-sister, Elizabeth I, taking the throne. Unlike Mary, Elizabeth was firmly in the reformist camp, and quickly reimplemented many of Edward's reforms. Philip, no longer co-monarch, deemed Elizabeth a heretic and illegitimate ruler of England. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Henry had never officially divorced Catherine, making Elizabeth illegitimate. It is alleged that Phillip supported plots to have Elizabeth overthrown in favour of her Catholic cousin and heir presumptive, Mary, Queen of Scots; however, these were thwarted when Elizabeth had the Queen of Scots imprisoned and finally executed in 1587. Elizabeth retaliated against Philip by supporting the Dutch revolt against Spain, as well as funding privateers to raid Spanish ships across the Atlantic.

In retaliation, Philip planned an expedition to invade England in order to overthrow Elizabeth and, if the Armada was not entirely successful, at least negotiate freedom of worship for Catholics and financial compensation for war in the Low Countries.[30] Through this, it would end the English material support for the United Provinces – the part of the Low Countries that had successfully seceded from Spanish rule – and cut off English attacks on Spanish trade and settlements[31] in the New World. The King was supported by Pope Sixtus V, who treated the invasion as a crusade, with the promise of a subsidy should the Armada make land.[32]

A raid on Cádiz, led by Francis Drake in April 1587, had captured or destroyed some thirty ships and great quantities of supplies, setting preparations back by a year.[33] Philip initially favoured a triple attack, starting with a diversionary raid on Scotland, while the main Armada would capture the Isle of Wight, or Southampton, to establish a safe anchorage in the Solent. The Duke of Parma would then follow with a large army from the Low Countries crossing the English Channel. Parma was uneasy about mounting such an invasion without any possibility of surprise. He was also alarmed by the costs that would be incurred and advised Philip to postpone or abandon it. The appointed commander of the Armada was the highly experienced Álvaro de Bazán, Marquis of Santa Cruz, but he died in February 1588, and the Duke of Medina Sidonia, a high-born courtier, took his place. While a competent soldier and distinguished administrator, Medina Sidonia had no naval experience. He wrote to Philip expressing grave doubts about the planned campaign, but this was prevented from reaching the King by courtiers on the grounds that God would ensure the Armada's success.[34]

Planned invasion of England

Routes of the Spanish Armada
Route taken by the Spanish Armada

Prior to the undertaking, Pope Sixtus V allowed Philip II of Spain to collect crusade taxes and granted his men indulgences. The blessing of the Armada's banner on 25 April 1588, was similar to the ceremony used prior to the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. On 28 May 1588, the Armada set sail from Lisbon and headed for the English Channel. The fleet was composed of 130 ships, 8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers, and bore 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns. The full body of the fleet took two days to leave port. It included twenty eight purpose-built warships, of which twenty were galleons, four galleys and four (Neapolitan) galleasses. The remainder of the heavy vessels were mostly armed carracks and hulks together with thirty-four light ships.[35]

In the Spanish Netherlands, 30,000 soldiers[36] awaited the arrival of the Armada, the plan being to use the cover of the warships to convey the army on barges to a place near London. All told, 55,000 men were to have been mustered, a huge army for that time. On the day the Armada set sail, Elizabeth's ambassador in the Netherlands, Valentine Dale, met Parma's representatives in peace negotiations. The English made a vain effort to intercept the Armada in the Bay of Biscay. On 6 July negotiations were abandoned, and the English fleet stood prepared, if ill-supplied, at Plymouth, awaiting news of Spanish movements. The English fleet outnumbered the Spanish, 200 ships to 130,[37] while the Spanish fleet outgunned the English – its available firepower was 50% more than that of the English.[38] The English fleet consisted of the 34 ships of the Royal Fleet (21 of which were galleons of 200 to 400 tons) and 163 other ships (30 of which were of 200 to 400 tons and carried up to 42 guns each), 12 of these were privateers owned by Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake.[11]

Signal station built in 1588, above the Devon village of Culmstock, to warn when the Armada was sighted

The Armada was delayed by bad weather. Storms in the Bay of Biscay forced four galleys and one galleon to turn back, and other ships had to put in for repairs, so only about 123 or 124 ships actually made it to the English Channel. Nearly half the fleet were not built as warships and were used for duties such as scouting and dispatch work, or for carrying supplies, animals, and troops.[35]

The fleet was not sighted in England until 19 July, when it appeared off The Lizard in Cornwall. The news was conveyed to London by a system of beacons that had been constructed all the way along the south coast. On that evening, the English fleet was trapped in Plymouth Harbour by the incoming tide. The Spanish convened a council of war, where it was proposed to ride into the harbour on the tide and incapacitate the defending ships at anchor and from there to attack England; but Medina Sidonia declined to act because this had been explicitly forbidden by Philip, and decided to sail on to the east and towards the Isle of Wight. As the tide turned, 55 English ships set out to confront them from Plymouth under the command of Lord Howard of Effingham, with Sir Francis Drake as Vice Admiral. Howard ceded some control to Drake, given his experience in battle. The rear admiral was Sir John Hawkins.

First actions (1588)

On 20 July, the English fleet was off Eddystone Rocks, with the Armada upwind to the west. That night, in order to execute their attack, the English tacked upwind of the Armada, thus gaining the weather gage, a significant advantage. At daybreak on 21 July the English fleet engaged the Armada off Plymouth near the Eddystone rocks. The Armada was in a crescent-shaped defensive formation, convex towards the east. The galleons and great ships were concentrated in the centre and at the tips of the crescent's horns, giving cover to the transports and supply ships in between. Opposing them the English were in two sections, Drake to the north in Revenge with 11 ships, and Howard to the south in Ark Royal with the bulk of the fleet.

Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham from NPG
Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham

Given the Spanish advantage in close-quarter fighting, the English ships used their superior speed and manoeuvrability to keep beyond grappling range and bombarded the Spanish ships from a distance with cannon fire. The distance was too great for this to be effective, however, and at the end of the first day's fighting neither fleet had lost a ship in action, although the Spanish carrack Rosario and galleon San Salvador were abandoned after they collided. When night fell, Francis Drake turned his ship back to loot the abandoned Spanish ships, capturing supplies of much-needed gunpowder, and gold. However, Drake had been guiding the English fleet by means of a lantern. As a result of him snuffing out the lantern to slip away from the Spanish ships, the rest of his fleet became scattered and was in complete disarray by dawn. It took an entire day for the English fleet to regroup and the Armada gained a day's grace.[39] The English ships again used their superior speed and manoeuvrability to catch up with the Spanish fleet after a day of sailing.

The English fleet and the Armada engaged once more on 23 July, off Portland. This time a change of wind gave the Spanish the weather gage, and they sought to close with the English, but were foiled by the smaller ships' greater manoeuvrability. At one point Howard formed his ships into a line of battle, to attack at close range bringing all his guns to bear, but this was not followed through and little was achieved.

If the Armada could create a temporary base in the protected waters of the Solent (a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the English mainland), they could wait there for word from Parma's army. However, in a full-scale attack, the English fleet broke into four groups – Martin Frobisher of Aid now also being given command over a squadron – with Drake coming in with a large force from the south. At the critical moment Medina Sidonia sent reinforcements south and ordered the Armada back to open sea to avoid The Owers shoals.[40] There were no other secure harbours further east along England's south coast, so the Armada was compelled to make for Calais, without being able to wait for word of Parma's army.

On 27 July, the Armada anchored off Calais in a tightly-packed defensive crescent formation, not far from Dunkirk, where Parma's army, reduced by disease to 16,000, was expected to be waiting, ready to join the fleet in barges sent from ports along the Flemish coast. Communication had proven to be far more difficult than anticipated, and it only now became known that this army had yet to be equipped with sufficient transport or assembled in the port, a process which would take at least six days, while Medina Sidonia waited at anchor; and that Dunkirk was blockaded by a Dutch fleet of thirty flyboats under Lieutenant-Admiral Justinus of Nassau.[41] Parma wanted the Armada to send its light pataches to drive away the Dutch, but Medina Sidonia could not do this because he feared that he might need these ships for his own protection. There was no deep-water port where the fleet might shelter – always acknowledged as a major difficulty for the expedition – and the Spanish found themselves vulnerable as night drew on.

Spanish Armada fireships
English fireships are launched at the Spanish armada off Calais

The Dutch flyboats mainly operated in the shallow waters off Zeeland and Flanders that larger warships with a deeper draught, like the Spanish and English galleons, could not safely enter. The Dutch therefore enjoyed an unchallenged naval advantage in these waters, even though their navy was inferior in naval armament. An essential element of the plan of invasion, as it was eventually implemented, was the transportation of a large part of Parma's Army of Flanders as the main invasion force in unarmed barges across the English Channel. These barges would be protected by the large ships of the Armada. However, to get to the Armada, they would have to cross the zone dominated by the Dutch navy, where the Armada could not go. This problem seems to have been overlooked by the Spanish planners, but it was insurmountable. Because of this obstacle, England never was in any real danger, at least from the Duke of Parma and the Army of Flanders. Because of the eventual English victory at sea, the Army of Flanders escaped the drowning death Justinus and his men had in mind for them, ready to fight another day.[42][43]

At midnight on 28 July, the English set alight eight fireships, sacrificing regular warships by filling them with pitch, brimstone, some gunpowder and tar, and cast them downwind among the closely anchored vessels of the Armada. The Spanish feared that these uncommonly large fireships were "hellburners",[44] specialised fireships filled with large gunpowder charges, which had been used to deadly effect at the Siege of Antwerp. Two were intercepted and towed away, but the remainder bore down on the fleet. Medina Sidonia's flagship and the principal warships held their positions, but the rest of the fleet cut their anchor cables and scattered in confusion. No Spanish ships were burnt, but the crescent formation had been broken, and the fleet now found itself too far to leeward of Calais in the rising southwesterly wind to recover its position. The English closed in for battle.

Battle of Gravelines

Gheeraerts Francis Drake 1591
Sir Francis Drake in 1591

The small port of Gravelines was then part of Flanders in the Spanish Netherlands, close to the border with France and the closest Spanish territory to England. Medina Sidonia tried to re-form his fleet there and was reluctant to sail further east knowing the danger from the shoals off Flanders, from which his Dutch enemies had removed the sea marks. The English had learned of the Armada's weaknesses during the skirmishes in the English Channel and had concluded it was necessary to close within 100 yards (91 m) to penetrate the oak hulls of the Spanish ships. They had spent most of their gunpowder in the first engagements and had, after the Isle of Wight, been forced to conserve their heavy shot and powder for a final attack near Gravelines. During all the engagements, the Spanish heavy guns could not easily be run in for reloading because of their close spacing and the quantities of supplies stowed between decks, as Francis Drake had discovered on capturing the damaged Rosario in the Channel.[45] Instead the gunners fired once and then transferred to their main task which was to board enemy ships, as had been the practice in naval warfare at the time. In fact, evidence from Armada wrecks in Ireland shows that much of the fleet's ammunition was never spent.[46] Their determination to fight by boarding, rather than cannon fire at a distance, proved a weakness for the Spanish; it had been effective on occasions such as the battles of Lepanto and Ponta Delgada (1582), but the English were aware of this strength and sought to avoid it by keeping their distance.

With its superior manoeuvrability, the English fleet provoked Spanish fire while staying out of range. The English then closed, firing damaging broadsides into the enemy ships. This also enabled them to maintain a position to windward so that the heeling Armada hulls were exposed to damage below the water line when they changed course later. Many of the Spanish gunners were killed or wounded by the English broadsides, and the task of manning the cannon often fell to the regular foot soldiers on board, who did not know how to operate the guns. The ships were close enough for sailors on the upper decks of the English and Spanish ships to exchange musket fire. After eight hours, the English ships began to run out of ammunition, and some gunners began loading objects such as chains into cannons. Around 4:00 pm, the English fired their last shots and pulled back.[47]

Five Spanish ships were lost. The galleass San Lorenzo, flagship of Don Hugo de Moncada, ran aground at Calais and was taken by Howard after murderous fighting between the crew, the galley slaves, the English who eventually killed all Spanish and slaves, and the French, ultimately took possession of the wreck. The galleons San Mateo and San Felipe drifted away in a sinking condition, ran aground on the island of Walcheren the next day, and were taken by the Dutch. One carrack ran aground near Blankenberge; another foundered. Many other Spanish ships were severely damaged, especially the Portuguese and some Spanish Atlantic-class galleons (including some Neapolitan galleys) which had to bear the brunt of the fighting during the early hours of the battle in desperate individual actions against groups of English ships. The Spanish plan to join with Parma's army had been defeated.

Elizabeth's Tilbury speech

Meanwhile, because of the threat of invasion from the Netherlands, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester had established a force of 4,000 soldiers at West Tilbury, Essex, to defend the Thames Estuary against any incursion up-river towards London.

Because the result of the English fire-ship attack and the sea battle of Gravelines had not yet reached England, on 8 August (18 August New Style), Elizabeth went to Tilbury to review her forces, and the next day arrived on horseback in battle armour, thus showing to the assembled warriors that she was prepared to fight with them in the ensuing battle. She gave to them her Royal address, which is probably her most famous speech. It survives in six slightly different versions.[48] One version is as follows:

Elizabeth I (Armada Portrait)
Elizabeth I of England, the Armada portrait

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but, I do assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself, that under God I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my subjects; and, therefore, I am come amongst you as you see at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of battle, to live or die amongst you all – to lay down for my God, and for my kingdoms, and for my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king – and of a King of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms – I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness, you have deserved rewards and crowns, and, we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.[49]

After the victory, typhus swept the english ships, killing many mariners. The sailors were not paid for their service, and of the few who did survive, even of the crew of the royal warship, Elizabeth, some expired after landing at Margate.[50]

Return to Spain

C.C. van Wieringen The Spanish Armada off the English coast
The Spanish Armada off the English coast

On the day after the battle of Gravelines, the disorganised and un-manoeverable Spanish fleet was at risk of running on to the sands of Zeeland due to the westerly component in the wind. Luckily for the Armada, the wind then changed to the south, enabling the fleet to sail north. The English ships under Howard pursued to prevent any landing on English soil, although by this time his ships were almost out of shot. On 2 August Old Style (12 August New Style) Howard called a halt to the pursuit at about the latitude of the Firth of Forth off Scotland. By then, the only option left to the Spanish ships was to return to Spain by sailing round the north of Scotland and home via the Atlantic or the Irish sea. The spanish ships were beginning to show wear from the long voyage and some were kept together by having their damaged hulls strengthened with cables. Supplies of food and water ran short. The intention would have been to keep well to the west of the coast of Scotland and Ireland, in the relative safety of the open sea. There being no way of accurately measuring longitude, the Spanish were not aware that the Gulf Stream was carrying them north and east as they tried to move west and they eventually turned south much closer to the coast than they thought. Off Scotland and Ireland the fleet ran into a series of powerful westerly winds, which drove many of the damaged ships further towards the lee shore. Because so many anchors had been abandoned during the escape from the English fire-ships off Calais, many of the ships were incapable of securing shelter as they reached the coast of Ireland and were driven onto the rocks and local inhabitants looted the ships. The late 16th century and especially 1588, was marked by unusually strong North Atlantic storms, perhaps associated with a high accumulation of polar ice off the coast of Greenland, a characteristic phenomenon of the "Little Ice Age".[51] More ships and sailors were lost to cold and stormy weather than in direct combat.

It is estimated that about 5,000 men died by drowning, starvation and slaughter by the local inhabitants after their ships were driven ashore on the west coast of Scotland and Ireland.[52] Reports of the passage of the remnants of the Spanish Armada around Ireland abound with onerous accounts of hardships and survival.[53]

The Spanish Barn, Torquay
The Spanish Barn in Torquay held 397 Spanish prisoners of war
The Spanish Barn plaque, Torquay
A plaque in the Spanish Barn

In the end, 67 ships and fewer than 10,000 men survived.[54] Many of the men were near death from disease, as the conditions were very cramped and most of the ships ran out of food and water. Some were captured and held prisoner by the English, for instance in what was later called the "Spanish Barn" in Torquay on the south coast of England. More Armada survivors later died in Spain, or on hospital ships in Spanish harbours, from diseases contracted during the voyage. It was reported that when Philip II learned of the result of the expedition, he declared, "I sent the Armada against men, not God's winds and waves".[55]


In England, a medal was struck with the inscription "Flavit Jehovah et Dissipati Sunt", which translates as Jehovah blew with His winds, and they were scattered.

Armada Medal
Armada Medal, bearing the inscription Flavit Jehovah et Dissipati Sunt

The wind that scattered the Armada has been called the Protestant Wind[56] (a phrase also used for later navy attacks favourable to the Protestant cause that were helped by the wind)

The following year the English launched the Counter Armada, with 23,375 men and 150 ships under Sir Francis Drake but several thousands were killed, wounded or died of disease[57][58][59] and 40 ships sunk or captured.[60]. The attempt to restore the Portuguese Crown from Spain was unsuccessful while at the same time the opportunity to strike a decisive blow against the weakened Spanish navy was lost. The failure of the expedition depleted the financial resources of England's treasury, which had been carefully restored during the long reign of Elizabeth I.

During the course of the war the Spanish failed to gain control of the English Channel, nor stop their intervention in Flanders or English privateer transatlantic raids. Two more armadas were sent by Spain (substantially weaker than the great one she had sent in 1588), in 1596 and 1597 but both were once more scattered by storms.[61] Nevertheless through Philip II's naval revival the English and Dutch ultimately failed to disrupt the various fleets of the Indies, despite the great number of military personnel mobilised every year and thus Spain remained the predominant power in Europe for several decades.[62]

The conflict wound down with diminishing military actions, until a peace was agreed between the two powers on the signing of the Treaty of London in 1604.

Technological revolution

The result vindicated the English strategy and caused a revolution in naval tactics – taking advantage of the wind (the "weather gage") and line-to-line cannon fire from windward (which exposed the opponent ship's hull and rudder as targets). There was also the use of numerous naval cannon to damage enemy ships without the need to board - until then, cannon had played a supporting role to the main tactic of ramming and boarding enemy ships.

Most military historians hold that the battle of Gravelines reflected a lasting shift in the balance of naval power in favour of the English, in part because of the gap in naval technology and cannon armament which continued into the next century.[63] In the words of Geoffrey Parker, by 1588, "the capital ships of the Elizabethan navy constituted the most powerful battlefleet afloat anywhere in the world".[64] The English navy yards were leaders in technical innovation and the captains devised new battle formations and tactics. Parker argues that the sleeker and more manoevrable full-rigged ship, amply cannoned, was one of the greatest advances of the century and permanently transformed naval warfare.

English shipwrights introduced designs in 1573, first demonstrated in Dreadnought, that allowed the ships to sail faster, manoeuvre better and carry many and heavier guns.[65] Whereas before warships had tried to grapple with each other so that soldiers could board the enemy ship, now they more often stood off and fired broadsides that could sink the vessel. Superior English ships and seamanship had foiled the invasion. The English also took advantage of Spain's complex strategy that required coordination between the invasion fleet and the Spanish army on shore. The poor design of the Spanish cannon meant they were much slower in reloading in a close-range battle, allowing the English to take control. Spain still had numerically larger fleets but England was catching up.[66]


Vroom Hendrick Cornelisz Battle between England and Spain 1601
Day seven of the battle with the Armada, 7 August 1588, by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, 1601

In England, the boost to national pride from the defeat of the Spanish invasion attempt lasted for years and Elizabeth's legend persisted and grew long after her death. Repulsing the Spanish naval force may have given heart to the Protestant cause across Europe and the belief that God was behind the Protestants.[67] This was shown by the striking of commemorative medals that bore variations on the inscription, "1588. Flavit Jehovah et Dissipati Sunt" – with "Jehovah" in Hebrew letters ("God blew, and they are scattered"), or He blew with His winds, and they were scattered. There were also more lighthearted medals struck, such as the one with the play on the words of Julius Caesar: Venit, Vidit, Fugit (he came, he saw, he fled). The victory was acclaimed by the English as their greatest since Agincourt.

The memory of the victory over the Armada was evoked during both the Napoleonic Wars and the Second World War, when Britain again faced a substantial danger of foreign invasion. The Armada Memorial in Plymouth was constructed in 1888 to celebrate the tercentenary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.[68]


Knerr (1989) has reviewed the main trends in historiography over five centuries.[69] For 150 years writers relied heavily on Petruccio Ubaldini's A Discourse Concernye the Spanish Fleete Invadinye Englande (1590), which argued that God decisively favoured the Protestant cause. William Camden (1551–1623) pointed in addition to elements of English nationalism and the private enterprise of the sea dogs. He also emphasized that the Duke of Medina Sidonia was an incompetent seaman. David Hume (1711–1776) praised the leadership of Queen Elizabeth. However the Whig historians, led by James A. Froude (1818–1894), rejected Hume's interpretation and argued that Elizabeth was vacillating and almost lost the conflict by her unwillingness to previously spend enough to maintain and supply the Royal Navy's fleet of ships. Scientific modern historiography came of age with the publication of two volumes of primary documents by John K. Laughton in 1894. This enabled the leading naval scholar of the day Julian Corbett (1854–1922) to reject the Whig views and turn attention to the professionalization of the Royal Navy as a critical factor. Twentieth-century historians have focused on technical issues, such as the comparative power of English and Spanish naval guns and the degree of naval battle tactics credit due Francis Drake and Charles Howard. Inclement weather in the English Channel and on the oceans at the time has always been cited as a major factor to the outcome.


Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada; the Apothecaries painting,[70] sometimes attributed to Nicholas Hilliard.[71] A stylised depiction of key elements of the Armada story: the alarm beacons, Queen Elizabeth at Tilbury, and the sea battle at Gravelines.[72]

In popular culture

  • The Armada is vividly described in Ken Follett's third novel of the Kingsbridge series, Column of Fire (2017).
  • The preparations of the Armada and the Battle of Gravelines form the backdrop of two graphic novels in Bob de Moors Cori, de Scheepsjongen ("Cori le Moussaillon" in French, "Cori, the Cabin Boy" in English) (Les Espions de la Reine and Le Dragon des Mers'). In them, Cori the cabin boy works as a spy in the Armada for the English.
  • The Armada and intrigues surrounding its threat to England form the backdrop of the films Fire Over England (1937), with Laurence Olivier and Flora Robson, and The Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn.
  • The Battle of Gravelines and the subsequent chase around the northern coast of Scotland form the climax of Charles Kingsley's 1855 novel Westward Ho!, which in 1925 became the first novel to be adapted into a radio drama by BBC.[73]
  • In golf, Spaniard pros Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal, who had a Ryder Cup record of 11–2–2 as a team – the best record for a pairing in the history of the competition – came to be called the "Spanish Armada".[74]
  • The Battle of Gravelines is the climax of the 2007 film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age starring Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen.
  • In the twentieth season of The Simpsons, the episode Four Great Women and a Manicure depicts the reason for the Armada's attack as Queen Elizabeth's rebuff of the King of Spain. Homer Simpson (as Walter Raleigh) accidentally sets the only English ship on fire; then collides with the Armada, setting all their ships on fire, creating victory for England.
  • Winston Graham wrote a history of "The Spanish Armadas" and a historical novel, The Grove of Eagles, based on it – the plural "Armadas" referring to a lesser-known second attempt by Philip II of Spain to conquer England during 1598, which Graham argued was better planned and organized than the famous one of 1588 but was foiled by a fierce storm scattering the Spanish ships and sinking many of them.
  • Bertolt Brecht's 1935 poem Questions From a Worker Who Reads, written to emphasize the role played by the lower classes in history, includes the lines: "Philip of Spain wept when his armada went down. Was he the only one to weep?" (
  • Several alternate history writers have published variant descriptions of how history might have proceeded if the Spanish Armada had won, including John Brunner (Times Without Number, 1962), Keith Roberts (Pavane, 1969) and Harry Turtledove (Ruled Britannia 2002).

See also



  1. ^ Mattingly p. 401 the defeat of the Spanish armada really was decisive
  2. ^ Parker & Martin p. 5 an unmitigated disaster
  3. ^ Vego p. 148 the decisive defeat of the Spanish armada.
  4. ^ Lucy Hughes-Hallett notes that the action off Gravelines "was the fight which would enter English history books as “the defeat of the Spanish Armada,” but to those who took part in it the engagement appeared inconclusive. By the end of it the Armada was battered but still battleworthy, while the English were almost entirely out of ammunition". Hughes-Hallett, Lucy: Heroes: A History of Hero Worship. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010. ISBN 9780307485908, p. 327.
  5. ^ "The 1588 campaign was a major English propaganda victory, but in strategic terms it was essentially indecisive". Holmes, Richard; Marix Evans, Martin: Battlefield: Decisive Conflicts in History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 9780191501173, p. 108.
  6. ^ According to José Alcalá-Zamora Queipo de Llano, "the confused and partial news of the indecisive naval actions fought between both naval formations in the English Channel were transformed into adulatory, courtier and political victorious reports". Alcalá-Zamora, José N.: La empresa de Inglaterra: (la "Armada invencible": fabulación y realidad). Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 2004. ISBN 9788495983374, p. 20.
  7. ^ Parker & Martin p. 245
  8. ^ Alcalá-Zamora p 56
  9. ^ Richard Holmes 2001, Battlefield: Decisive Conflicts in History, p. 858: "The 1588 campaign was a major English propaganda victory, but in strategic terms it was essentially indecisive"
  10. ^ Mattingly 362
  11. ^ a b c Colin Martin, Geoffrey Parker, The Spanish Armada, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-901341-14-3, p. 40.
  12. ^ Colin Martin, Geoffrey Parker,The Spanish Armada, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-901341-14-3, pp. 10, 13, 19, 26.
  13. ^ Kinard, Jeff. Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its Impact. p. 92.
  14. ^ Burke, Peter. The New Cambridge Modern History: Volume 13, Companion Volume.
  15. ^ Kamen, Henry (2014). Spain, 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict. Routledge. p. 123.
  16. ^ Lewis, Michael.The Spanish Armada, New York: T.Y. Crowell Co., 1968, p. 184.
  17. ^ John Knox Laughton,State Papers Relating to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, Anno 1588, printed for the Navy Records Society, MDCCCXCV, Vol. II, pp. 8–9, Wynter to Walsyngham: indicates that the ships used as fire-ships were drawn from those at hand in the fleet and not hulks from Dover.
  18. ^ Lewis, p. 182.
  19. ^ Aubrey N. Newman, David T. Johnson, P.M. Jones (1985) The Eighteenth Century Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature 69 (1), 108 doi:10.1111/j.1467-8314.1985.tb00698.
  20. ^ Casado Soto, José L.: Atlantic shipping in sixteenth-century Spain and the 1588 Armada, in Rodríguez-Salgado, M. J. and Simon Adams (eds.): England, Spain and the Gran Armada, 1585–1604. Edinburgh: John Donald, 1991. ISBN 9780859763004, p. 122.
  21. ^ Garrett Mattingly rejects old estimations, makes a recount and concludes: "So, lost, at most, 31 ships (not 41), 10 pinnaces at most (not 20), 2 galleasses (not 3), 1 galley. Total, not more than 44 (not 65), probably five or six and perhaps a doze less." Mattingly, Garrett: The Armada. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. ISBN 9780395083666, p. 426.
  22. ^ Lewis p. 208
  23. ^ Lewis pp. 208–09
  24. ^ Hanson p. 563
  25. ^ "The Safeguard of the Sea, A Naval History of Britain, 660–1649", N. A. M. Rodgers, Penguin, 2004, pp. 263–69
  26. ^ John A. Wagner (2010). Voices of Shakespeare's England: Contemporary Accounts of Elizabethan Daily Life: Contemporary Accounts of Elizabethan Daily Life. ABC-CLIO. p. 91. ISBN 9780313357411.
  27. ^ Colin Martin; Geoffrey Parker (1999). The Spanish Armada (revised ed.). Manchester University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9781901341140.
  28. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 'armada'
  29. ^ Waller, Maureen (2006). Sovereign Ladies: The Six Reigning Queens of England. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-312-33801-5.
  30. ^ Pendrill, Colin (2002). Spain 1474–1700:The Triumphs and Tribulations of Empire. Bristol: Heinemann. p. 286. ISBN 978-0435-32733-0. "If the Armada is not as successful as we hoped but yet not entirely defeated, then you may offer England peace on the following terms. The first is that in England the free use and exercise of our Holy Catholic faith shall be permitted to all Catholics, native and foreign, and that those that are in exile shall be permitted to return. The second is that all the place in my netherlands which the English hold shall be restored to me and the third that they shall recompense me for the injury they have done me, my dominions and my subjects, which will amount to an exceeding great sum. With regard the free exercise of Catholicism, you may point out to them that since freedom of worship is permitted to the huguenots of France, there will be no sacrifice of dignity in allowing the same privilege to Catholics in England." April 1588, Philip II to the Duke of Parma.
  31. ^ Hart, Francis Rußel, Admirals of the Caribbean, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1922, pp. 28–32, describes a large privateer fleet of 25 ships commanded by Drake in 1585 that raided about the Spanish Caribbean colonies.
  32. ^ PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Spanish Armada". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. "…the widespread suffering and irritation caused by the religious wars Elizabeth fomented, and the indignation caused by her religious persecution, and the execution of Mary Stuart, caused Catholics everywhere to sympathise with Spain and to regard the Armada as a crusade against the most dangerous enemy of the faith," and, "Pope Sixtus V agreed to renew the excommunication of the Queen, and to grant a large subsidy to the Armada, but given the time needed for preparation and actual sailing of the fleet, would give nothing until the expedition should actually land in England. In this way he eventually was saved the million crowns, and did not take any proceedings against the heretic queen."
  33. ^ Wagner, John (1999). Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World; Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America. Oxford and New York: Routledge. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-57958-269-2. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  34. ^ Coote, Stephen (2003). Drake, The Life and Legend of an Elizabethan Hero. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd. pp. 248–52. ISBN 978-0-7432-2007-1. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  35. ^ a b Garrett Mattingly, The Invincible Armada and Elizabethan England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1963), pp. 12–13.
  36. ^ Colin Martin, Geoffrey Parker,The Spanish Armada, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-901341-14-3, p. 94, gives 30,500 and raised to 30,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry on p.96. Also, the hoax paper The English Mercurie published by Authoritie, Whitehall 23 July 1588, Imprinted at London by Chriss Barker, Her Highnesse's Printer, 1588, otherwise states fairly accurately, p. 3, "…all the Spanish troops in the Netherlands, and consists of thirty thousand Foot and eighteen hundred Horse."
  37. ^ The Spanish Armada : Sir Francis Drake
  38. ^ Colin Martin, Geoffrey Parker,The Spanish Armada, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-901341-14-3, p. 185.
  39. ^ Colin Martin, Geoffrey Parker,The Spanish Armada, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-901341-14-3, p. 153.
  40. ^ Mcdermott. England and the Spanish Armada. p. 260
  41. ^ Patrick Fraser Tytler (1833), Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, Edenburgh: Oliver & Boyd; [etc., etc.], OCLC 3656130
  42. ^ Israel, J. I. and Parker, G. (1991) "Of Providence and Protestant Winds: the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the Dutch armada of 1688", in: The Anglo-Dutch moment. Essays on the Glorious Revolution and its world impact. Cambridge U.P., ISBN 0-521-39075-3; pp. 349–51
  43. ^ Motley, John Lothrop (1860). "XVII.1587". History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Synod of Dort. 1586–89. London: John Murray. 4194.
  44. ^ "Hellburners" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2007. (143 KiB).
  45. ^ Coote, Stephen (2003). Drake. London: Simon & Schuster. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-7432-2007-1. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  46. ^ Colin Martin, Geoffrey Parker, The Spanish Armada, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 1-901341-14-3, pp. 189–90
  47. ^ Battlefield Britain: Episode 4, the Spanish Armada
  48. ^ John Guy (2016). Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years. Viking. p. 119.
  49. ^ Damrosh, David, et al. The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volume 1B: The Early Modern Period. Third ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006.
  50. ^ John Guy (2016). Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 144–48. ISBN 978-0-241-96364-7.
  51. ^ Brian Fagan, The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300–1850, New York: Basic Books, 2000
  52. ^ Mattingly, Garrett (1959). The Armada. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 369. ISBN 978-0-395-08366-6. LCCN 87026210. OCLC 16806339. OL 2396450M. ID information is for the 1987 reprint.. The English Lord Deputy ordered the English soldiers in Ireland to kill Spanish prisoners, which was done on several occasions instead of asking for ransom as was common during that period.
  53. ^ Winston S. Churchill, "The New World", vol. 3 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, (1956) Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, p. 130.
  54. ^ In the end as many as two-thirds of the armada's original complement of 30,000 died and for every one killed in battle or perishing of their wounds another six or eight died due to (non-combat losses), Hanson p. 563
  55. ^ SparkNotes: Queen Elisabeth – Against the Spanish Armada
  56. ^ "Europe - MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009.
  57. ^ R. O. Bucholz, Newton Key Early modern England 1485-1714: a narrative history (John Wiley and Sons, 2009). ISBN 978-1-4051-6275-3 p.145
  58. ^ John Hampden Francis Drake, privateer: contemporary narratives and documents (Taylor & Francis, 1972). ISBN 978-0-8173-5703-0 p.254
  59. ^ Fernández Duro, Cesáreo (1972). Armada Española desde la Unión de los Reinos de Castilla y Aragón. Museo Naval de Madrid, Instituto de Historia y Cultura Naval, Tomo III, Capítulo III. Madrid. p.51
  60. ^ Fernández Duro, Cesáreo (1972). Armada Española desde la Unión de los Reinos de Castilla y Aragón. Museo Naval de Madrid, Instituto de Historia y Cultura Naval, Tomo III, Capítulo III. Madrid. p.51
  61. ^ Tenace 2003, pp. 855–82.
  62. ^ J. H. Elliott La Europa dividida (1559–1598) (Editorial Critica, 2002). ISBN 978-84-8432-669-4 p.333
  63. ^ Aubrey N. Newman, David T. Johnson, P.M. Jones (1985) The Eighteenth Century Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature 69 (1), 93–109 doi:10.1111/j.1467-8314.1985.tb00698.
  64. ^ Geoffrey Parker, 'The Dreadnought Revolution of Tudor England', Mariner's Mirror, 82 (1996): 273.
  65. ^ Geoffrey Parker, "The 'Dreadnought' Revolution of Tudor England", Mariner's Mirror, Aug 1996, Vol. 82, Issue 3, pp. 269–300
  66. ^ Geoffrey Parker, "Why the Armada Failed", History Today, May 1988, Vol. 38 Issue 5, pp. 26–33
  67. ^ Richard Holmes 2001, p. 858: "The 1588 campaign was a major English propaganda victory, but in strategic terms it was essentially indecisive"
  68. ^ Worth, Richard (1890). History of Plymouth: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. Plymouth: W. Brenden. pp. 51–54.
  69. ^ Douglas Knerr, "Through the "Golden Mist": a Brief Overview of Armada Historiography." American Neptune 1989 49(1): 5–13.
  70. ^ Aled Jones (5 May 2005). Transactions of the Royal Historical Society: Sixth Series. Cambridge University Press. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-0-521-84995-1. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  71. ^ The Battle of Gravelines by Nicholas Hilliard at
  72. ^ Aled Jones (5 May 2005). Transactions of the Royal Historical Society: Sixth Series. Cambridge University Press. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-0-521-84995-1. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  73. ^ Briggs, Asa. The BBC: The First Fifty Years. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1985. 63.
  74. ^ Harig, Bob (11 May 2011). "Seve, Ryder Cup almost never happened". ESPN. Retrieved 11 May 2011.


  • Corbett, Julian S. Drake and the Tudor Navy: With a History of the Rise of England as a Maritime Power (1898) online edition vol. 1; also online edition vol. 2
  • Cruikshank, Dan: Invasion: Defending Britain from Attack, Boxtree Ltd, 2002 ISBN 0-7522-2029-2
  • Fernández-Armesto, Felipe. The Spanish Armada: The Experience of War in 1588. (1988). 336 pp.
  • Froude, James Anthony. The Spanish Story of the Armada, and Other Essays (1899), by a leading historian of the 1890s full text online
  • Hanson, Neil. The Confident Hope Of A Miracle: The True History Of The Spanish Armada Random House, 2011, ISBN 9781446423226
  • Kilfeather T. P.: Ireland: Graveyard of the Spanish Armada, Anvil Books Ltd, 1967
  • Knerr, Douglas. "Through the "Golden Mist": a Brief Overview of Armada Historiography." American Neptune 1989 49(1): 5–13. ISSN 0003-0155
  • Konstam, Angus. The Spanish Armada: The Great Enterprise against England 1588 (2009)
  • Lewis, Michael. The Spanish Armada, New York: T.Y. Crowell Co., 1968.
  • Mcdermott, James (2005). England and the Spanish Armada: The Necessary Quarrel. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-3001-0698-5.
  • Martin, Colin, and Geoffrey Parker. The Spanish Armada (2nd ed. 2002), 320pp by leading scholars; uses archaeological studies of some of its wrecked ships excerpt and text search
  • Martin, Colin (with appendices by Wignall, Sydney: Full Fathom Five: Wrecks of the Spanish Armada (with appendices by Sydney Wignall), Viking, 1975
  • Mattingly, Garrett. The Armada (1959). the classic narrative excerpt and text search
  • Parker, Geoffrey. "Why the Armada Failed." History Today 1988 38(may): 26–33. ISSN 0018-2753. Summary by leadfing historian.
  • Pierson, Peter. Commander of the Armada: The Seventh Duke of Medina Sidonia. (1989). 304 pp.
  • Rasor, Eugene L. The Spanish Armada of 1588: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography. (1992). 277 pp.
  • Rodger, N. A. M. The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain 660–1649 vol 1 (1999) 691 pp; excerpt and text search
  • Rodriguez-Salgado, M. J. and Adams, Simon, eds. England, Spain, and the Gran Armada, 1585–1604 (1991) 308 pp.
  • Tenace, Edward (2003), "A Strategy of Reaction: The Armadas of 1596 and 1597 and the Spanish Struggle for European Hegemony", English Historical Review, 118 (478): 855–82, doi:10.1093/ehr/118.478.855
  • Thompson, I. A. A. "The Appointment of the Duke of Medina Sidonia to the Command of the Spanish Armada", The Historical Journal, Vol. 12, No. 2. (1969), pp. 197–216. in JSTOR
  • Vego, Milan N. (2013). Naval Strategy and Operations in Narrow Seas. Routledge. ISBN 9781136317941.
  • Alcalá-Zamora, José N. (2004). La empresa de Inglaterra: (la "Armada invencible" : fabulación y realidad). Taravilla: Real Academia de la Historia ISBN 978-84-95983-37-4

Popular studies

  • The Confident Hope of a Miracle. The True History of the Spanish Armada, by Neil Hanson, Knopf (2003), ISBN 1-4000-4294-1.
  • Holmes, Richard. The Oxford Campanion to Military History. Oxford University Press. 2001. ISBN 978-0-19-860696-3
  • From Merciless Invaders: The Defeat of the Spanish Armada, Alexander McKee, Souvenir Press, London, 1963. Second edition, Grafton Books, London, 1988.
  • The Spanish Armadas, Winston Graham, Dorset Press, New York, 1972.
  • Mariner's Mirror, Geoffrey Parker, 'The Dreadnought Revolution of Tudor England', 82 (1996): pp. 269–300.
  • The Spanish Armada, Michael Lewis (1960). First published Batsford, 1960 – republished Pan, 1966
  • Armada: A Celebration of the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, 1588–1988 (1988) ISBN 0-575-03729-6
  • England and the Spanish Armada (1990) ISBN 0-7317-0127-5
  • The Enterprise of England (1988) ISBN 0-86299-476-4
  • The Return of the Armadas: the Later Years of the Elizabethan War against Spain, 1595–1603, R. B. Wernham ISBN 0-19-820443-4
  • The Voyage of the Armada: The Spanish Story, David Howarth (1981) ISBN 0-00-211575-1
  • T. P. Kilfeather Ireland: Graveyard of the Spanish Armada (Anvil Books, 1967)
  • Winston Graham The Spanish Armadas (1972; reprint 2001) ISBN 0-14-139020-4
  • Historic Bourne etc., J.J. Davies (1909)

External links

Coordinates: 50°10′00″N 4°15′42″W / 50.16667°N 4.26167°W

2nd Spanish Armada

The 2nd Spanish Armada also known as the Spanish Armada of 1596 was a naval operation that took place during the Anglo–Spanish War. Another invasion of England or Ireland was attempted in the autumn of 1596 by King Philip II of Spain. In an attempt at revenge for the English sack of Cadiz in 1596, Philip immediately ordered a counter strike in the hope of assisting the Irish rebels in rebellion against the English crown. The strategy was to open a new front in the war, forcing English troops away from France and the Netherlands, where they were also fighting.The Armada under the command of the Adelantado, Martín de Padilla was gathered at Lisbon, Vigo and Seville and set off in October. Before it had left Spanish waters, storms struck the fleet off Cape Finisterre. The storms shattered the Armada causing much damage and forcing the ships to return to their home ports. Nearly 5,000 men died either from the storm or disease and 38 ships were lost, which was enough for a long-term postponement of the Irish enterprise. The material and financial losses added to the bankruptcy of the Spanish Kingdom, during the autumn of 1596.

3rd Spanish Armada

The 3rd Spanish Armada, also known as the Spanish Armada of 1597, was a major naval event that took place between October and November 1597 as part of the Anglo–Spanish War. The armada, which was the third attempt by Spain to invade or raid the British Isles during the war, was ordered by King Philip II of Spain in revenge for the English attack on Cadiz following the failure of the 2nd Spanish Armada months before due to a storm. The Armada was executed by the Adelantado, Martín de Padilla, who was hoping to intercept and destroy the English fleet under Robert Devereux the 2nd Earl of Essex as it returned from the failed Azores expedition. When this was achieved, the Armada would go on to capture either the important port of Falmouth or Milford Haven and use those places as a base for invasion.When the Spanish arrived in the English Channel, however, they were dispersed by a storm which scattered their fleet. Even so, some ships did push on and even landed troops on the English and Welsh coasts. The returning English fleet, which had been scattered by the same storm, were unaware that the Spanish had come to intercept them, and arrived safely in England with loss of only one ship. Padilla finally ordered a retreat back to Spain. The returning English ships captured a number of Spanish ships, from which valuable information was obtained about the Armada. Panic in England then ensued, partly because the English fleet had been out to sea with the English coast virtually undefended. This caused the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Earl of Essex to deteriorate further and Charles Howard, the 1st Earl of Nottingham, took over from Essex as commander of the English fleet. Howard immediately sent the fleet out to hunt the Spanish, most of whom had arrived back at port. Any remaining Spanish ships were rounded up and captured along with their soldiers and crew. Philip took much of the blame for the failure by the Armada commanders, particularly Padilla. The Armada was the last of its kind that the Spanish would execute under Philip II before his death.

Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)

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.

Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham

Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham (1536 – 14 December 1624), known as Howard of Effingham, was an English statesman and Lord High Admiral under Elizabeth I and James I. He was commander of the English forces during the battles against the Spanish Armada and was chiefly responsible after Francis Drake for the victory that saved England from invasion by the Spanish Empire.


The Crommesteven or cromsteven, often as crompster, cromster or crumster (from crom = bent, concave; steven = stem) was a type of small warship used by the Dutch Republic and later by the British fleets during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was designed for work inshore on the shoal Netherlands coast and was a ketch, spritsail rigged on the main, and lateen on the small mizzen. As a class of vessel, it was represented in England by the hoy. When queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, her navy was reported to consist of 31 great ships, including galleons and crompsters, though crommestevens were considerably smaller than galleons.For its size, it was heavily armed and capable of influencing events ashore, in which respect it played a part in the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588.

Fire ship

A fire ship or fireship, used in the days of wooden rowed or sailing ships, was a ship filled with combustibles, deliberately set on fire and steered (or, when possible, allowed to drift) into an enemy fleet, in order to destroy ships, or to create panic and make the enemy break formation. Ships used as fire ships were either warships whose munitions were fully spent in battle, or surplus ones which were old and worn out, or purpose-built inexpensive combustible vessels rigged to be set afire, steered toward targets, and abandoned quickly by the crew.

Explosion ships or 'hellburners' were a variation on the fire ship, intended to cause damage by blowing up in proximity to enemy ships.

Fireships were used to great effect by the outgunned English fleet against the Spanish Armada during the Battle of Gravelines, the Dutch Raid on the Medway and by the Greeks in the Greek War of Independence.

Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 – 28 January 1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, slave trader, naval officer and explorer of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580, and was the first to complete the voyage as captain while leading the expedition throughout the entire circumnavigation. With his incursion into the Pacific Ocean, he claimed what is now California for the English and inaugurated an era of conflict with the Spanish on the western coast of the Americas, an area that had previously been largely unexplored by western shipping.Elizabeth I awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581 which he received on the Golden Hind in Deptford. As a Vice Admiral, he was second-in-command of the English fleet in the battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He died of dysentery in January 1596, after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico. Drake's exploits made him a hero to the English, but his privateering led the Spanish to brand him a pirate, known to them as El Draque. King Philip II allegedly offered a reward for his capture or death of 20,000 ducats, about £6 million (US$8 million) in modern currency.

Gato (artform)

The gato (Spanish for cat) is a style of Argentine music and the associated dance. It is a very popular folk dance in the country. Its rhythm is like the chacarera, but its structure is different. Usually, the lyrics of gatos are picaresque or humorous (and the dancers frequently stop the music to improvise any occurrence of double meaning). This dance can be attributed to the Spanish Armada of Philip II, who was once defeated by Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Girona (ship)

La Girona was a galleass of the 1588 Spanish Armada that foundered and sank off Lacada Point, County Antrim, on the night of 26 October 1588, after making its way eastward along the Northern Irish coast. The wreck is noteworthy for the great loss of life that resulted, and the treasures recovered.

Howard of Effingham School

The Howard of Effingham School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status. It is located in the village of Effingham, Surrey, to the west of Little Bookham. The school is part of the Howard Partnership Trust (THPT) a Multi-Academy Trust which includes four secondary and five primary schools.

The school is named after Charles Howard the second Baron Howard of Effingham of the Howard Family who was commander of the English forces during the battles against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and was chiefly responsible after Francis Drake for the victory that saved England from invasion by the Spanish Empire.

The Howard Partnership Trust is currently led by Rhona Barnfield CBE and the school's head teacher is Helen Pennington. The school is currently judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted.

John Hawkins (naval commander)

Admiral Sir John Hawkins (also spelled as Hawkyns) (1532 – 12 November 1595) was an English slave trader, naval commander and administrator, merchant, navigator, shipbuilder and privateer. His elder brother and trading partner was William (b. c. 1519). He was considered the first English trader to profit from the Triangle Trade, based on selling supplies to colonies ill-supplied by their home countries, and their demand for African slaves in the Spanish colonies of Santo Domingo and Venezuela in the late 16th century. He styled himself "Captain General" as the General of both his own flotilla of ships and those of the English Royal Navy and to distinguish himself from those Admirals that served only in the administrative sense and were not military in nature. His death and that of his second cousin and mentoree, Sir Francis Drake, heralded the decline of the Royal Navy for decades before its recovery and eventual dominance again helped by the propaganda of the Navy's glory days under his leadership.As Treasurer of the Navy (1577-1595) and comptroller (1589) of the Royal Navy, Hawkins rebuilt older ships and helped design the faster ships that withstood the Spanish Armada in 1588. One of the foremost seamen of 16th-century England, Hawkins was the chief architect of the Elizabethan navy. In the battle in which the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, Hawkins served as a vice admiral. He was knighted for gallantry. He later devised the naval blockade to intercept Spanish treasure ships leaving Mexico and South America.

List of ships of the Spanish Armada

The armada that attempted to escort an army from Flanders and integrate the Habsburg Spanish invasion of England in 1588, was divided into ten "squadrons" (escuadras) The twenty galleons in the Squadrons of Portugal and of Castile, together with the four galleasses from Naples, constituted the only purpose-built warships (apart from the four galleys, which proved ineffective in the Atlantic waters and soon departed for safety in French ports); the rest of the Armada comprised armed merchantmen (mostly carracks) and various ancillary vessels including urcas (storeships, termed "hulks"), zabras and pataches, pinnaces, and (not included in the formal count) caravels. The division into squadrons was for administrative purposes only; upon sailing, the Armada could not keep to a formal order, and most ships sailed independently from the rest of their squadron. This list is compiled by a survey drawn up by Medina Sidonia on the Armada's departure from Lisbon on 9 May 1588 and sent to Felipe II; it was then published and quickly became available to the English. The numbers of sailors and soldiers mentioned below are as given in the same survey and thus also relate to this date.

San Juan de Sicilia

The San Juan de Sicilia was one of the 130 ships that formed the ill-fated Spanish Armada of 1588. The ship was originally known as the Brod Martolosi, before it was seized to form part of the navy. It was one of 10 ships forming the Levant squadron, one of 8 squadrons that formed the entire armada.

The ship was wrecked off the Inner Hebridean island of Mull, in Argyll, Scotland.

Over the years the true identity of the wreck was forgotten, and rumours of gold were tied to the ship. The ship was said to have been named the Florida, and to have been the flagship of the fleet, and a treasure ship. It was also said to have been the Florencia. It was not until the turn of the 20th century that the true identity of the ship was determined.

The remains of the San Juan de Sicilia have been destroyed by countless searches for gold.

San Salvador (Guipúzcoan squadron)

The article you are about to read is about a ship from the Spanish Armada.

San Salvador was a Spanish galleon of the Spanish Armada as part of the Guipúzcoan squadron of Miguel de Oquendo.

She was damaged and captured as a result of the first encounter of the Armada with the Royal Navy in 1588. San Salvador was lost at sea in the English Channel later that same year.

Sea Dogs

The Sea Dogs were a group of sea-raiders, (privateers, "Elizabethan Pirates"), who were authorised by Queen Elizabeth I of England, and also engaged in slave trading.The Sea Dogs were essentially a military branch that were authorised by the Queen to attack the Spanish fleet and loot their ships in order to bring back riches and treasure. They carried "Letters of Marque" which made their plundering of Spanish ships legal under English Law despite not being at war. The Sea Dogs were started in 1560 as a way to bridge the gap between the Spanish Navy and the English Navy. By having a small fleet of ships that would sail around and pick off Spanish ships, risking their lives and own ships in the process, they were able to reduce the funds and size of the Spanish navy significantly. The Sea Dogs continued carrying out raids against the Spanish until 1604 when England and Spain made peace. After that, many of the Sea Dogs continued as pirates employed by the Barbary States, in what would become the Anglo-Turkish piracy in the Caribbean.

Spanish Armada in Ireland

The Spanish Armada in Ireland refers to the landfall made upon the coast of Ireland in September 1588 of a large portion of the 130-strong fleet sent by Philip II to invade England.

Following its defeat at the naval battle of Gravelines the Armada had attempted to return home through the North Atlantic, when it was driven from its course by violent storms, toward the west coast of Ireland. The prospect of a Spanish landing alarmed the Dublin government of Queen Elizabeth I, which prescribed harsh measures for the Spanish invaders and any Irish who might assist them.

Up to 24 ships of the Armada were wrecked on a rocky coastline spanning 500 km, from Antrim in the north to Kerry in the south, and the threat to Crown authority was readily defeated. Many of the survivors of the multiple wrecks were put to death, and the remainder fled across the sea to Scotland. It is estimated that some 6,000 members of the fleet perished in Ireland or off its coasts.

Spanish Point, County Clare

Spanish Point (Irish: Rinn na Spáinneach) is a village in the parish of Milltown Malbay in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. It has many holiday homes, and in winter a significantly smaller population. It is also one of the better surf breaks in County Clare. The name refers to the wrecking of some ships of the Spanish Armada off the coast.

The Armada (band)

The Armada was a three-piece rock band based in Cork, Ireland. Fronted by Jeff Martin of The Tea Party, The Armada aimed to encompass the tone of The Tea Party, while moving it forward.

The band was formed when Jeff Martin and Wayne Sheehy met in an Irish Pub. The two hit it off immediately and soon started making music together.

The name of the band refers to the Spanish Armada: "We were like, what is this?" [Jeff Martin] said. "It's massive, but what do we make of this?"

That's when Sheehy commented, "It's kind of like the Spanish Armada . . . attacking you from all fronts."

On 27 September 2008, Gareth Forsyth was announced as the bassist/keyboardist through the band's MySpace.Their debut album The Armada, was released through the Kingdom Records website on 4 November 2008.

The Armada (book)

The Armada is a popular history by Garrett Mattingly—a historian who taught at Columbia University—about the attempt of the Spanish Armada to invade England in 1588. It was published in 1959 by Houghton Mifflin Company, and Mattingly won a special Pulitzer Prize for the work in 1960 as "a first class history and a literary work of high order."One biographer wrote that The Armada was "written in purple prose but a royal purple, which read like historical fiction." Another biographer noted that Mattingly "treated his job as that of telling a story about people" and that The Armada was "that rarity, a book by a professional historian and admired by professional historians which nevertheless became a best seller." The Armada remains in print and has also been issued outside the United States under the title The Defeat of the Spanish Armada.

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