The Spanish Armada
On May 30, 1588, they left the Port of
Lisbon confident and assured of victory. If they would succeed in victory
and conquer the enemy, then they would be the sole world power. If they
win they will be victors of the biggest battle the world has ever seen.
The Spanish Armada, the biggest invading fleet Spain had ever launched,
left Lisbon toward England and headed for the unknown.
During the 16th century Spain and England
were colonizing the world and gaining power. In the 1560’s England was
jealous of Spain, because the Spaniards were taking gold and silver from
the Americas and the English wanted some of that wealth. Queen Elizabeth
I encouraged some of her commanders to raid Spanish towns and ships, even
though the two countries were still at peace. Some religious differences
were also causing conflict between the two countries. England was a protestant
country, who had just broke away from the Roman Catholic church, and Spain
followed the Roman Catholic church. The English government also supported
the Dutch Protestants, who were rebelling against Spanish rule. Spain and
England also competed over trade routes and control of trade throughout
Europe and the world.
In the early 1580’s King Philip II of Spain
started to assemble his fleet. His plan was to have a two pronged attack.
His fleet would meet with the Duke of Parma, in the Spanish Netherlands
at Calais. The Armada would then ferry the Duke’s troops across the English
Channel allowing them to march on London, capturing the city and the Queen.
Soon after the entire country would fall to Spanish rule.
Once the fleet of 125 ships had been assembled,
King Philip II ordered the Duke of Medina Sedonia, the Spanish commander
of the fleet, to sail to Calias. In May 1588, the armada left Lisbon traveled
up the coast toward England. The English were informed of the Spanish movements
and quickly assembled a fleet of mostly merchant ships. They left England
to intercept the advancing armada. Once the Spaniards had reached the South
West coast of England on July 19, 1588, the 197 vessels of the English
navy attacked the flanks of the great armada. The English avoided close-in
combat, much to the Spanish dismay. The Spaniards continued attacking,
yet the English fleet harassed the Spaniards doing much damage. The Spanish
fleet continued on their path to Calais, with the English in tow. Once
the Spanish fleet reached the port of Calais they found out that the Duke
of Parma failed to show up with his men. This was devastating to the Kings
plan. At this time the English saw an opportunity to attack and did. They
sent fire ships into the Spanish formations, thus scattering them. The
next day the English attacked the confused armada. The Battle of Gravelines,
an eight hour struggle, left many Spanish ships damaged or lost.
The Spanish realized that their invincible
armada was in danger of total annihilation, so the Spanish commander, the
Duke of Media Sedonia ordered a retreat. The Spanish fleet was to forgo
the invasion and head back home. He chose the route that went north of
Scotland and Ireland. For three days the English ships followed the Spaniards,
before they ran out of ammunitions, then they returned to England to restock.
The Spanish fleet was battered by North Sea storms and finally the weakly
defeated armada limped back to Spain. After the defeat of the Armada, Spain
dropped from world domination. After that the British rose to international
The defeat of the Spanish Armada brought
change to the world scene in which England became the dominate leader in
world trade and colonization. Spain lost most of it’s world control because
of the loss of it’s navy. With out the navy they couldn’t control their
colonies, thus lossing them to other world powers. England thrived and
spread it’s power all over the world, becoming an influential and dominate