Spanish armada history essay

Although the Armada had indeed set off, it was not initially bound for England. The plan devised by King Philip was for the fleet to pick up extra Spanish soldiers re-deployed from the Netherlands prior to invading England’s south coast. Following the recent death of Spain’s famous admiral Santa Cruz however, Philip had somehow made the strange decision to appoint the Duke of Medina Sidonia to command the Armada. An odd decision in that whilst he was considered a good and very competent general, Medina Sidonia had no experience at sea and apparently soon developed seasickness after leaving port.

Contrary to popular belief, the defeat of the Spanish Armada wasn’t the end of Spain’s reign as a world naval power. Phillip II successfully rebuilt his fleet after the 1588 debacle and continued operations against England for several more years. He even launched two more armadas in 1596 and 1597, both of which were scattered by storms. It was not until 1604 that Elizabeth and Philip’s successors finally signed a treaty ending the 19-year Anglo-Spanish War as a stalemate. Spain’s navy continued to dominate the sea-lanes, however, and didn’t go into decline until the mid-17th century during the Thirty Years’ War .

The Battle
The Spanish sailed up the Channel in a crescent formation, with the troop transports in the centre. When the Spanish finally reached Calais, they were met by a collection of English vessels under the command of Howard. Each fleet numbered about 60 warships, but the advantage of artillery and maneuverability was with the English.

Under cover of darkness the English set fireships adrift, using the tide to carry the blazing vessels into the massed Spanish fleet. Although the Spanish were prepared for this tactic and quickly slipped anchor, there were some losses and inevitable confusion.

On Monday, July 29, the two fleets met in battle off Gravelines. The English emerged victorious, although the Spanish losses were not great; only three ships were reported sunk, one captured, and four more ran aground. Nevertheless, the Duke of Medina Sedonia determined that the Armada must return to Spain. The English blocked the Channel, so the only route open was north around the tip of Scotland, and down the coast of Ireland.

It was then that the unpredictable English weather took a hand in the proceedings. A succession of storms scattered the Spanish ships, resulting in heavy losses. By the time the tattered Armada regained Spain, it had lost half its ships and three-quarters of its men.

In England the victory was greeted as a sign of divine approval for the Protestant cause. The storms that scattered the Armada were seen as intervention by God. Services of thanks were held throughout the country, and a commemorative medal struck, with the words, "God blew and they were scattered" inscribed on it.

Note
The term "Invincible Armada" was not a Spanish one. It was a sarcastic phrase employed by later English commentators.

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Spanish armada history essay

spanish armada history essay

- new site aiming to provide an accessible narrative for GCSE History pupils.
- fantastic range of interactive games, revision materials and links.
- outstanding use of ICT to engage pupils.
- a brilliant range of learning activities from Ian Dawson
- simply the best for Modern World GCSE students
- resources and CPD materials from the Historical Association.
- make your lessons 'real' with artefacts and living history provided by experts
- same author as this site, just put together in a slightly different way!
- all new resources for teachers and pupils of the SHP Medicine course
- A new site providing resources for teachers and pupils of the Crime and Punishment unit
- excellent range of photographs of Yorkshire scenery.
Militaria - a range of interesting pieces of militaria is available via tihs site
The Turkey Inn, Goose Eye, Oakworth - great historical public house with loads of great beer and a lovely atmosphere

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