Friday, April 28, 2023

The Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)

In Western Europe, the Spanish Empire ruled by the king Philip II gained an enormous power. The Spanish saw England as a competitor in trade and expansion in the ‘New World’ of the Americas.

Relations between Spain and Britain had been deteriorating steadily since Henry VIII officially broke with Rome and declared England a Protestant nation in the 1530s.

Unauthorized trading and privateering in the Spanish territories of the West Indies by men such as Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake further eroded ties between Queen Elizabeth I of Britain and King Philip of Spain.

The Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) was an intermittent conflict between the kingdoms of Spain and England that was never formally declared. The war included much English privateering against Spanish ships, and several widely separated battles.

It began with England's military expedition in 1585 to what was then the Spanish Netherlands under the command of the Earl of Leicester, in support of the Dutch rebellion against Spanish Habsburg rule. After Philip retaliated by outlawing British trade with Spain and by seizing hundreds of English ships in Iberian ports, the two nations found themselves at war.

In 1588, Philip II intended to sail with his navy and army, a total of around 30,000 men, up the English Channel to link up with the f orces led by the Duke of Parma in the Spanish Netherlands.

On May 19, the Invincible Armada set sail from Lisbon on a mission to secure control of the English Channel and transport a Spanish army to the British isle from Flanders. The fleet was under the command of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia and consisted of 130 ships carrying 2,500 guns, 8,000 seamen, and almost 20,000 soldiers.

The Armada was difficult to attack because it sailed in a ‘crescent’ shape. While the Armada tried to get in touch with the Spanish army, the English ships attacked fiercely. However, an important reason why the English were able to defeat the Armada was that the wind blew the Spanish ships northwards.
The Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)

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