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The Spanish Armada
The Spanish Armada
The Spanish Armada was a great Spanish
fleet sent by King Philip II of Spain in 1588 to invade England.
It was ironically called "Invincible." During the late 1500ís, Spain
was the major international power over much of the known world (Goldman
1). Spainís leader, King Philip II, wanted to conquer the Protestants
from England and convert them to the Church of Rome. King Philip
II also had hatred against Queen Elizabeth I, and wanted revenge because
she had executed Mary Queen of Scotland in 1587 (Goldman 1).
King Philip II of Spain began the assembling
and formation on the Spanish Armada. The Armada left Libson on the
20th of May 1588. The Armada consisted of about 130 ships.
Mediterranean and Atlantic fleets had up to 8,000 sailors and around 19,000
soldiers (Collierís Encyclopedia 559). They joined another 30,000
soldiers from Spain totaling 50,000 men. The commanders of the fleet
were Duke of Madina Sidonia, Francis Drake, Duck of Parma, an admiral named
Don Alvaro de Bazon, and Marquis of Santa Cruz, who had organized the Armada
(Collierís Encyclopedia 559). The English and Dutch knew that King
Philip would attack, and sent small squadrons under Sir William Wynter
and Lord Henry Seymour to patrol the Netherlands Coast (Goldman 1).
The English sent 54 of the Queenís best ships to Plymouth on the English
Channel to Blockade and destroy the Armada before it left the Spanish Coast.
On July 29, 1588, after the bad weather had passed, the Armada was spotted
off the Sicily Isles near southwestern England (Goldman 1).
The battle between Spain and the English
had begun when they first spotted each other. The two opposite sides
first met off of Plymouth, near Eddystone Rocks on July 31, when three
of the Spanish ships were lost (Collierís Encyclopedia 660). The
larger part of the English fleet was at Plymouth. The English fleet
harassed the Spanish fleet but were unable seriously damage the Spanish
formation. Thanks to new tactics, the English fleet pounded the Spaniards
form beyond the range of Spanish guns (The Encyclopedia American 327).
The Armada reached the Strait of Dover on August 6, and secured in an unprotected
position off Calais. The English also secured in a position but were
forced to retreat to guard the narrow seas (Collierís Encyclopedia 660).
As the Armada began their invasion, they no longer had a safe port.
The Dutch and English warships cruised to intercept the Armada fleet.
This defect in Spanish strategy was to prove disastrous (The Encyclopedia
Britannica). Around midnight on August 7, Lord Howard sent three
merchantmen to burn the Spanish fleet. The merchantmen only had time
to burn the cables. The Spanish ships drifted away in panic and the
Armadaís formation was completely broken. The Spanish regrouped but
ran out of ammunition (Academic American Encyclopedia 151). One ship
was severely damaged while the others were barely harmed. The English
attacked again on August 8 before the Spanish ship could regroup.
The battle went on for 8 hours straight, and three Spanish ships were sunk
while the others were badly battered. During all the battles, the
wind speed and waves had a great effect on the movement of the ships (Martin
& Parker 200). On August 12, a storm separated the opposing fleet
near the Firth of Forth, a bay on the east shore of Scotland, where Lord
Howard gave up his pursuit (Collierís Encyclopedia 660). Recognizing
the power of the English fleet, the Spaniards headed back to Spain.
The bruised Armada fought off storms and shipwrecks and finally returned
to the Spanish Port of Santander, on the Bay of Biscay, five months later
(Collierís Encyclopedia 660). Only about 60 ships reached Spain,
most of them too damaged to be repaired. The English lost thousands
of men due to disease and casualties in battle.
The outcome of the battle made Spain less
powerful then before. The defeat of the Spanish Armada saved England
form invasion, and the Dutch Republic form extinction (The Encyclopedia
Britannica). It marked the turning point between the era of Spanish
world domination, and the risk of Britain to the position of international
power (Goldman 1). The Armadaís action has had historical significance
as the first major gun battle under sail, and as the moment from which
the gun-armed sailing warship dominated the seas (The Encyclopedia Britannica).
The fate of the Armada gave the English more power to someday takeover
(Collierís Encyclopedia 660). The once powerful Spain was now recognized
as being defeated. England remained victorious and powerful, gaining
the wealth that they once dreamed of (Goldman 1).
The Spanish Armada was a fleet organized
to take over England. The fleet was
Topics Related to The Spanish Armada
Anti-Protestantism, Maritime history of England, European people, Invasions of England, Maritime history of the United Kingdom, Crown of Aragon, Crusades, England, Spanish Armada, Armada, Francis Drake, Philip II of Spain