Pivotal Turning Points in History: The Great Armada (1588)


Figure 1.--English forces mustered to defend the country at Tenbury along the Channel Coast. After the Armada was spotted in the Channel, Queen Elizabeth made her way to Telbury to be with her army. Apparently she decided while England's soldiers and sailors fought the Spanish, she was not going to cower behind palace walls. She decided to join the encampment and "live or die" with her people. From Tenbury comes her image of a warrior Queen, Elizabeth, upon a White Horse, defying the Don and inspecting her men. And it was here that she made her most remembered speech (August 8). We're not sure yet who the artist of this view was or when it was painted. In fact, had Philip's Army acttually landed in England it in all probability would have crushed Elizabeth's small army.

The Great Armada was rooted in the struggle between Catholic Philip II of Spain and Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth first met Philip when he came to England to marry her half-sister Mary. After Elizabeth became queen their relationsjip deteriorated. The primary issue was the Sea Dogs and their depredations on Spanish treasure ships. English audacity and technology at sea laid the groundwork for the Royal Navy and command of the seas. Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins, and the other "Sea Dogs" bedelved the Spanish treasure fleet with Queen Elizabeth as a secret partner. The English then formed overseas trading companies and very modest colonization attempts were made in the Caribbean and North America by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh. The long conflict with Spain was rooted in an English hunger for Spanish treasure and a commercial and maritime rivalry. The economic importance of the Low Countries was also a factor. Religion was also an issue. Phillip was a devout Catholic and determined to destroy the Protestant Revolution in his domanins in the Netherlands and to do the same in England, after his marriage with Queen Mary failed to so. This struggle culminated in Philip's decession to build a Great Armada. Spain in the 16th century was the preminent international power. The Spain as a result of the Reconquista had buily a powerful military capability. Spain and Portugal at the time had colonized or claimed of the known world and huge quantities of gold and silver flowed into Spain from its American colonies. This enabled Spain to build a huge navy to maintain its colonial dominions. Advanced in naval engineering, more effective gunnery, and superior tactics and as so often in war fortunate circumstances allowed Elizabeth's small navy to defeat Philip's Great Armada. Weather and oceanography may have been even more important factors. It was a great personal achievement for Queen Elizabeth. It demonstrated that a woman could not only effective govern in time of peace, but also lead a modern nation in time of war. The Armada proved a disaster for the Spanish but it should not be thought that Spain suddenly ceased being a major European power after the destrivtion of the Armada. Spain in fact remained militarily the most powerful country in Europe, althojugh not as dominant as in the 16th century. It was the Battle of Rocroi (1643) that signalled Spain's decline. It ended the invincibility of the Spanish Tercio and the beginning of the era French supremacy on the continent.

The Voyages of Dicovery

It was Portugal and Spain which led the European voyages of discovery. Spain by an accident of history came into contact wih the main Ntive American civilizations and had the lure of gold drove the Consquistadores to conquer these civilizatins. As aresult, vast quantities of gold and silver flowed into the coffers of tge Spanish monarchy. The first important English explorer was Giovanni Caboto (1450-98), better known as John Cabot. He was Genoese. (Note the importance of the Genoese. As Venice defeated Genoa and limited its maritime commerce, many Genoese like Cabot and Cloumbus sought their fortunes in other countries.) Cabot set up as a merchant in Bristol. Soon accounts of Columbus' voyages reached England. Cabot with his navigational skills was commissioned by King Henry VII to explore the New World and find a passage to the Indies, the famed Northwest Passage. Cabot found Cape Breton Island off modern Nova Scotia and claimed it for England (1497). He explored the coast of Greenland in a second expedition (1498). The English watched in envy while Mary was queen, her husband was Phillip II of Spain. With the accession of Princess Elizabeth, however, this changed. Without colonies of their own producing gold, the English began preying on the Spanish treasure ships. These were not all acts of piracy, Elizabeth hrself was authorizing many of these attacks. This brought her and England in conflict with the greatest military power of the day--Philip II's Spain.

The Reformation in England

Almost independent of the German Refomation was the Reformation in England, but this proved to be crucial because of the future imperial role of England. Political rather than religious issues were to drive the Renaissance in England. It was a Defender of the Faith, Henry VIII that set the Reformation in motion in England. Henry VIII decided to divorce his wide, the Spanish princess Catherine. He was furious when Pope Clement VII refused to approve the divorce. In response he rejected papal authority over the Church in England. It was Thomas Cramer that was to oversee the final break with Rome. Henry with the assistnce of his new Archbishop of Canterbury Thmas Caranmer founded the Anglican Church and set himself up as head of the new church (1534). While sparked by his personal life, the break with Rome had many advantages for Henry. One of the most important was the wealth of the Church was now at his disposal. Much of this he seized by closing the monestarires. Huge quantities of land were in the hands of the monastaries. The first tentative steps toward actual reformation was a liturgy in English and The Book of Common Prayer. Henry's lesser known and very devout Protestant son Edward VI played a major role in the success of the Reformation in England. The first tentative steps toward actual reformation was a liturgy in English and The Book of Common Prayer. Philip II of Spain and Mary I of England by their marriage hoped to being England back to the Catholic Church. The failure to produce an heir doomed the effort. England under Elizabeth was an increasingly Protestant country, but will a still important Catholic party.

Philip II

The building diplomatic difficulties, especially the depredations of the Sea Dogs, combined with the religious issue finally convinced Philip to invade England. Philip known as his "Mot Catholic Majecty" was as a devout Catholic that one could imagine as a head of state. He was known to have remarked at a royal auto-de fe that, "If my own son was a heretic, I would carry wood to burn him myself." Philip was determined to destroy the Protestant Revolution in his domanins, especially in the Low Countries, and to accomplish the same in England. Ironically Philip as the husband of Queen Mary I in England conceled his wife to be more gentle with the then Princess Elizabeth. He eventually came to hate her with a passion. He refused to use her name and was known to refer to her as the "daughter of the devil". [Hanson] Philip meticuously planned the Armada and the strategy to be used. He hand picked the Duke of Medina Sedonia to command the Great Armada. Phillip provided him with detailed instructions that from which he was ordered not to deviate. Philip was convinced that with the overwealming force of his Amada, two armies, and God's support that sucess was assured. The result came as a great shock. The rest of his life he pondered why God has deserted him and his great enterprise.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was one of the greatest monarchs in English history. She presided on the emergence of England as an important naval power. She was like her father a skilled politican and egotistical, unliked her father she had a sence of the responsibilities of office and duty to her people. She was immensely popular throughout her reign. This image of a popular, allant queen is probably and overstatement. Biographers describe her as indecissive and vain who in her later years had become abused her advisers and ladies in waiting. One historian writes, "Her balding pate was concealed beneath a lurid red wig and her face showed the ravages of age and smallpox beneath athick mask of death-white makeup." [Hanson] She attracted courtiers and yes men. An historian describes her court as a "snake-pit of favorites and syncophants--'a glittering misery, full of malice and spite' it glows and shines like rotton wood". [Hanson] Her greatest challenge and the greatest challenge to the English Reformation was Philip's Great Armada. If the Armada could land the Duke of Parma's large army in England, Elizabeth would have had difficulty raising a large enough army to meet them. In addition, many Catholics would have joined the Spanish. The Protestants were now the majority, but the Catholic party was still a substantial minority.

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary efforts to restanlish Catholicism in Scotland proved her undoing. She escaped to Englad, asking her Protestant cousin Elizabeth for protection. Elizabeth kept her closely confined. Mary as a Catholic with a strong claim to the throne was a danger to Elizabeth. Even so, she was involved in numerous plots with the Catholic party in England. Elizabeth's advisers urged Elizabeth to order her execution. Elizabeth for years hesitated , but Finally presented with overwealming evidence, Eliabeth ordered thge execution. The execution appears to have made up Philip's mind to proceed with the Armada. After Elizabeth's death, Mary's son James inherited the throne.

The Sea Dogs

English audacity and technology at sea laid the groundwork for the Royal Navy and command of the seas. Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins, and the other "Sea Dogs" bedeveled the Spanish treasure fleet with Queen Elizabeth as a secret partner. The English then formed overseas trading companies and very modest colonization attempts were made in the Caribbean and North America by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh. The long conflict with Spain was rooted in an English hunger for Spanish treasure and a commercial and maritime rivalry. The depredations of the Sea Dogs convinced Philip that he must act against England.

American Gold and Silver

Spain and Portugal at the time had colonized or claimed much of the known world and huge quantities of gold and silver flowed into Spain from its American colonies. The quantities of bullion were staggering and resulted in inflation throughout Europe. The governing economic theory of the day, Mercantilism, saw bullion as an esential element of national power. Thus nations througout Europe attached considerable importance to aquiring bullion, especially gold. Modern economists view this very differently. Some believe that the reversing fortunes of Spain date from the arrival of the American gold. One aspect that is certain is that this bullion financed the construction of Philip's Great Armada.

England

England and Elizabeth were a constant thorn in Philip's side. England was what might be cinsidered today a rogue state. The Spanish saw England as Protestant and piratical. For Philip, England' Protestantism was cause enough for war. Elizabeth for over 20 years alternatively provoked and appeased Philip. English privateers preyed on Spanish treasure ships. And Queen Elizabeth herself help finance theenglish privateers and took a cut of their booty. Elizabeth's used diplomacy, especially the possibility of marriage to defuse the rising tensions with Spain.

The Reformation in the Netherlands

Erasmus strongly promoted reform of the Catholic church during the years leading to the Reformation. The Netherlands was by the early 16th century a non-German possession of German Hapsburg Emperor Charles V. The Emperor within the Holy Roman Empire (Germany) attempted to resolve the dispute with Luther and his followers diplomatically. His approach outside the Empire in the provinces where he ruled directly, he was not prepared to compromise and invoked the full force of the Inquisition. he University of Leuven (Louvain) condemned Luther's theses (1519). Emperor Charles appointed van der Hulst as the Inquisitor General to supress the Protestants in the Netherlands (1522). He applied the full force of the Inquisition and within a year there were executions. Count Alva's brutal methods in the southern Netherlands appered for a time to have succeded in destroying the Reformation in the Netherlands. Imperial forces were in control in the south. Alva when he left the Netherlands, however, was a hated man as was the emperor (1573). The Count was, however, was unable to completely eliminate Protestantism. To many people in the Netherlands had cinverted. Despite supression in the south, rebellion flared in the north. The provinces of Holland and Zeeland rose in revolt (1572). The most repected nobleman in the Netherlands, William of Orange-Nassau, had serious differences ith the Imperial government (1568). The fighting became a bitterly fought war and excesses and atricities were committed by both sides. The creation of Union of Utrecht brought on one of the longest struggles in European history--the Dutch War of Independence. It was fought by the Dutch againt local Catholic forces and the Spanish. (Upon the death of Emperor Charles V, the Netherlands became a Spanish territory.) Charles' son Philip II was determined to stamp out Protestantism by military force.

Construction of the Armada

Spain was a country at the heith of its power. The wealth from the Americas enabled Spain to build a huge navy to maintain its colonial dominions. This struggle culminated in Philip's decession to build a Great Armada. The American bullion financed a special naval building program to invade England. Philip built at great cost an "Invincible Armada" of 160 ships. [Hanson] (some sources repoort a smaller number of ships, as few as 125.) The Spanish ships were built on a traditional design. Naval warfare for centiries was essentially an infantry contest waged at sea. Thi=us Spanish vessels were built like floting fortresses. They were built high to afford the soldiers aboard the advantage in boarding opposing forces. Speed was f less importance than strength.

The English Navy

The Royal Navy was still in its infancy. England's naval force was more a collection of priveteers than a national naval force. Even so, the English had made great strides in naval engeneering and artillery. The English shis were race built. They were less high and sleeker and thus faster. The English artillery was also superior the that of the Spanish. The English could outsail the Spanish and stand off at a distance to pound the Spanish with superior artillery fire. The English also has superior leadership, As privateers, the English captains like Sir Francis Drake were only a slight cut above pirates. But they were incredible seamen. They dressed in utilitarian clothes and much more involved in the operation of their ships. In contrast, the Armada was led by fopish aristocrats who dressed in court finery. Medina Sidonia who was afraid to deviate from Philip's instructions brought 60 servants with him. He had none of the seafaring skills of Drake. In fact he sufferd from sea sickness. [Hanson]

The Spanish Army

Spain in the 16th century was the preminent international power. The Spain as a result of the Reconquista had buily a powerful military capability. The Spanish had the finest, best financed army in Europe. As a result of the Reconquista, Spain had an established professional military. Spain had a larger population than England in the 15th century. There was not only a substantial army in Soain, but there was an army alreafdu positioned accross the English Channel fifgting the Protestants iun the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium and the Netherlands).

English Army

England had no real professional, standing army. There was only a poorly trained militia which could be called out in time of emergency. England had no professional army that could be relied on to effectively opose a professional invading Spanish army. Most military experts believe that the Spanish would have easily defeated the English militia had they suceeded in landing in England. Yet it has to be remembered that the Spanish had difficulty in the Lowlands and never could subdue the Dutch. England was a large country, not to mention Protestant Scotland to the north.

Spanish Strategy

Despite the name of the fleet Philip built, the Spanish never conceived of a naval campaign against England. The Spanish conceived a strateg of linking the Armada up with with the Duke of Parma's army already deployed in the Spanish Netherlands to destroy Protestantism there. The Armada would then be used to ferry the Duke's army across the Channel to England where it would march on London and seize the Queen. England would then be brought back to the True Faith at the point of Spanish swords.

English Strategy

Without a professional standing army, the English put their faith in the navy to ensure that the Spanish would not land their armies.

Cadiz (1587)

Cadiz in southern Spain was the country's most important naval base and commanded the approaches to the Mediterranean. This was the era before England possessed Gibraltar. one of Drake's most important actions was his 'singeing of the beard' of King Philip II of Spain at Cadiz. It was hugely sucessful and helped lay the groundwork for the English victory over the Great Armada. Queen Elizabeth and her ministers had concluded that war with Spain was iminent. Drake was ordered to raid Cadiz and disrupt Spanish preparations. He deparment from Plymouth (April 12, 1587). He reached Cadiz (April 29). That very afternoon without hesitation he sailed the English fleet into the Spanish harbor. The Spanish did not expect this and were not prepared for it. One historian writes, "Drake's fleet arrived outside Cadiz about one hour before sunset. His ships were under strict orders to fly no flags until the very last moment to confuse the lookouts positioned on the walls and atop the nasts of the ships inside the habour. It was a tyoical warm spring evening and its inhabitants were tking their leisure. The central square was packed with spectators watching an athletic tumbler turn his acrobatic tricks. Nearby,, others rored with laughter at a bawdy comedy performed by some itinerant actors in the open air. The word spread slowly through the crowds that a line of ships was apraoching the harbor. What was the nationality of these mystery vessels? Were they friend or fie? The first English cannon shots booming across the bay provided the definitive answer." [Hutchinson] All evening and the entire next day, the English ships delivered cannonad after cannonade at the Spanish. Landing parties plundered and burned. They managed to dsestroy 37 naval and merchant ships. The English suffered only minor losses. For a month after th strike on Cadiz, Drake sailed his fleet off the Iberian coast between Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent. (The Cape in southern Portugal is the southwesternmost point in Europe.) The English captured numerus Spanish ships and destroyed supplies dstined for Lisbon to be used in building the Spanish Armada.

Command

The Armada was placed under the command of the Duke of Medina Sedonia, a nobelman of limited naval experience.

Opposing Naval Forces

There were significant differences between the English and Spanish vessels. The interesting question is why did England, a small and realtively backward country on the edge of Europe embrace technological change and Spain which could have easily afforded to persue technlogical change did not.

Spanish vessels

The Spanish Armada had the weight of numbers on its side. The Spanish ships were built, hoever, with the same tested tecgnology od Spanish shipbuilding. The same was true of the naval guns on the vessels. The principal role of the Spanish Navy was to transport the riches of its new American colonies back to Spain. Here the important elements was that the vessels be sturdy and be able to transport large quantities of cargo. Speed was not of great importance. The same was trur of Spanish naval vessels. As there role was to protect the treasure fleets, there was also no need to be fast. The vessels wee designed to fight at close quarters any opposing forces designed to get at the treasure fleets. While slower the larger Spanish vessels with high structures fore and aft provided advantages for combat at close quarters. We wonder if the riches from america may have dampend the need to improve technology. We also wonder if Spain conservative Cathalocism and especially theInquisition may have tampened scirntific thought and technical innovation.

English vessels

Substantial technological changes took place in English naval engineeering during the 16th century. The English made substantial improvements in ship design bringing about a revolution in naval construction. The English began costructing ships with more streamlined hull, called at the time " race built ". This made the English ships faster and more maneureable than the Spanish ships. There were also improvements in the rigging which provided greaer power per square feet of canvas. The English also had superior armament. Their vessels had heavier gun btteries that could enfage at greater distance. Knowledge of balistics in the 16th century was still primitive. The science was not well understood. Cannon makers usedtrial and error. English cannin makers developed a long-barrel cannon called the snake which was could be effective at nearly 700 meters, far beyond the range of the Spanish guns. We wonder why these inovations occurred in England rather than in Spain or other European country. Surely a major factor was the need to have fast vessels if they were to attack the Spanish treasure fleets. The rewards for success were staggering.

Rumors and Proaganda

Protestants spread lurid accounts of the Spanish Inquisition. The truth was bad enogh. Pamfleteers and rumor mongers made it even worse than it was. When news of the Armada became known, rumors spread alarming people throughout England, especially in the port cities. The Spanish were accused of bring pox-infected prostitutes to turn loose on England in addition to thousands of wet nurses who suposedly would be needed to suckle orphaned children because ifall the killing that woukld take place. The Armada ships were depicted as carryong torture devices and cruel whips that would be employed by the Inquisition in England. Elizabeth played a role in spreading these accounts to ensure that that the population would be behind her. [Hanson]

The Armada Sails

The Armada sailed in late May 1588 and reached the Southwest coast of England on July 19. The sails of the vessels were emlazoned with a bright red cross. A frightening sight for the English.

English Beacons

The Armada arrived at the western approaches and entered the Channel (July 19). This was almost immediately reported to Drake with the fleet in Portsmouth and Queen Elizabeth in England. England had a chain system of beacons crisscrossing . Firewood waspreposition on prominent heights throughout the country. Districts and parishes were responsible for maintainging these beacons. They could no transmit a complicated message, but they could transmit a prearranged signal. In this case, the appearnce of the Armada. It is not known precisely how fast the beacon system operated, but it is believe that Elizebeth and Drake learned of the Armada's appearance within minutes. One modern estimate suggests that a signal could be transported in 40 minutes from Portsmouth to Carlyle (northern England).

Engagements in the Channel

The English Channel is an extremely unpreductable body of water. Vessels powered by sails were ubject to the vageries of wind, tide, and weather. With the Armada these weather and meteroligal conditions wereprobably more important than the superior seamanship and gunnery of the English vessels. The Spanish had luck with them and the wind at their backs meant that they could have proceeded to targets along the English coast. The English fleet was in Plymouth waiting for notice of the Spanish, but with westerly winds ould have had difficuly opposing an invasion to the west of Plymouth. English legend has it that Drake upon hearing of the Armada's approach, insisted on finishing his game of bowls. In fact Drake realized that until the tides came in, he could not sail. Medina Sedona despite the favorable weather conditions, made no attempt to strike at the English He was under orders to strictly follow Phillip's invasion plan and that entailed first linking up with the Duke of Palma's army at Calais. Thus the Armada sailed eastward through the Channel. Drake attacked the huge Spanish fleet formation. The Spanish were adept in protecting convoys. They formed a gigantic cresent formation. Limited engagements were fought by Lord Howard and Francis Drake who commanded the English fleet. The more manueverable English vessels harassed the Spanish. The Spanish were prepared for close quarter combat. There were, however, serious problems with Spanisg gunnery, both the cannon balls and cannon (mny different sizes) and gunnery tactics. [Martin] The English with faster more maneuerable vessels sailing close to the wind were able to damage several Spanishg vessels and actually capturing one vessel. This gave them important informatiuon about the Armada and the ca[ability of its gunnery. They learned that there was no uniformity among the cannons and projectiles. The English could sail close to the wind, and get into tactifully advantageous positions, used manuervability to seize advantage from the Spanish, despite the westerly winds. Despite their advantage in cannoery, the English found it very difficult to actualy sink the sturdily built Spanish vessels. The English and Spanish fired solid cannon balls, not exploding projectiles. The English simply did not have sufficent munitions to sink large numbers of Spanish vessels. They did, however, cause considerable havoc on the ships they managed to strike.

Calais

The Armada anchored at Calais, but found that the Duke of Parma and his army was not yet there. The English set fire-ships at the Spanish (July 28). Little actual damage was done, but the Spanish scattered to avoid the preceived danger. This meant that the Spanish fleet was no longer in its effective cressent formation.

Gravelines

The principal engagement occurred at Gravelines and in an 8-hour running engagement, the English batter th Spanish ships (July 29). The English do considerable damage to the Spaish vessels. Revatively few Spanish ships were actually sunk. The English pursued the Spanish for 3 days. Again the English had to break off the engagement with supplies of cannon balls and gunpowder ran low.

Elizabeth at Tenbury (August 8)

English forces mustered to defend the country at Tenbury along the Channel Coast. After the Armada was spotted in the Channel, Queen Elizabeth made her way to Tilbury to be with her army. Apparently she decided while England's soldiers and sailors fought the Spanish, she was not going to cower behind palace walls. Sge decided to join the encampment and "live or die" with her people. From Tenbury comes here image of a warrior Queen, Elizabeth, upon a White Horse, inspected her men. And it was here that she made her most remembered speech (August 8). She wore a silver breastplate over a white velvet dress, she addressed them in one of her most famous speeches, "My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people....I know I have the body but 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."

Assessment

Popular history ascribes the defeat of the maaive Armada by a pluckly little English fleet as a David and Goliath confrontation. One historian attributes the massove losses to bad weather and bad lkuck. {hutchinson] These were indeed critical factors. But victors have ha habit of making luck work for them and losers often bring on their bad luck. The defeat of the Armada was alsi the result of poor Spanish planning and leadershio. he English voctorywas aided by courageous and effectiveleadership. In addition, superior English gunnery was afactor, While they sank relatively few Soanish ships, the naval engagements appear to have unerved the Spanish leading to critical command errors. In addition the design of the English vessels, the gunnery skills, the quqlity and standarization of their artillery were all matters that rediunded to their favor amnd not blind luck.

The North Sea

The Commander of the Armada, the Duke of Medina Sedonia, fearing defeat decided not to invade. He had not hooked up with the Duke of Parma and did not think his forces adequate for a successful invasion. He concluded that thge only opotion was to return to Spain. His fleet was battered, but at this stage relatively few vessels had actually been lost. He decided on a northerly route around England and Scotland and then south back to England. The prevailing winds dictated this northerly route. Moreover trying to move back through the Channel would have exposed him to the English guns again. The real damage was done to the Spanish fleet in the North Sea and North Atlantic. Storms were encountered in the North Sea. The Spanish were underorders to avoid the coast of Scotland and Ireland. Thus the vessels cgartered courses well north and west before turning wet back to Spain. Despite these orders, 40 Spanish vessels floundered on the rocky coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Historians find this surprising given the naytical skills of the Spanish. One ocenographic phenomenon that the Spanish were unfamiliar was the Gulf Stream. Arising in the Caribbean, it is the most powerful current of water in the world. The Spanih had enconyered it along the coasts of Cuba and Florida, but had no idea that it was still powerful in the northeat Atlantic. At the time lattitude could be estimared with some accuracy, but not longitude. Thus sailong against the Gulf Stram and using dead reackoning, the Spanish appear to seriouslu underestimated how far west they sailed into the Atlantic. Thus when thy turned south they sailed ito the rocky coasts of Scotland and Ireland insread of the open sea.

Return to Spain

Only a small number of Spanish ships managed to reach Spanish ports.

Turning Point in History

The destruction of Philip's Grreat Armada was a pivital turning point in history. Spanish naval power was ebbing despite the flow of gold and silver from the America. Britain was beginning its rise as a great naval power. The Armada proved a disaster for the Spanish but it should not be thought that Spain suddenly ceased being a major European power after the destrivtion of the Armada. Spain in fact remained militarily the most powerful country in Europe, althojugh not as dominant as in the 16th century. It was the Battle of Rocroi (1643) that signalled Spain's decline. It ended the invincibility of the Spanish Tercio and the beginning of the era French supremacy on the continent.

Peace Treaty

The 19-year Anglo-Spamis War was finalled ended at the Somerset House Conference which produced the Treaty of London (Augist 19, 1604). Three years later, the English establishred their first permnent colony in North America at Jamestown, Virginia (1607). At the time and for two centuries, the American colonies were considered of only minor imporance to the more established and profitable Spanish colonies in Mexico and South America.

Sources

Hanson, Neil. The Confident Hop of a Miracle: The True History of the Spanish Armada (Knopf, 2005), 489p.

Hutchinson, Robert. The Spamish Armada (2014), 432p.

Martin, Colin. Marine archeologist.







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Created: September 30, 2003
Last updated: 4:59 AM 9/27/2015