The Spanish armada refers to a Spanish fleet comprising of 130 ships sailing from A Coruña to invade the England in August of 1588. The purpose of the fleet was to escort the army from the Flanders. This fleet was commanded by Duke of Medina Sidonia.
The move was a strategic plan aimed at overthrowing Queen Elizabeth I of England so that they can establish Protestantism there. Spain expected that this move would bring the interference of English with the Spanish Netherlands to an end. It also hoped that the move would end the harm that Dutch and English privateering was causing on the Spanish interests.
The Spanish armada took off in January 1588 but it resulted in an expensive disaster to the Spanish while the English celebrated their victory and made Sir Francis Drake more popular that he was already. It also had impact on the celebrations of the Tudor Christmas.
Spain was controlling much of the Netherlands when Elizabeth I was the queen. This comprised of what is the modern day Belgium and Holland. At the same time, Holland was struggling to be independent because they hated being transformed into Catholics. In fact, the ideas of Protestants had already taken roots in the region and most people were secretly Protestants.
Spain was using a secret religious police known as Inquisition in hunting the Protestant outs. On the other hand, the English during the reign of queen Elizabeth I were helping Dutch Protestants in the country. This angered Spain greatly and Philip II wanted to bring this to an end. Phillip II had initially been married to half-sister of Elizabeth for a short while at a time when England was a Catholic state.
Phillip believed that by overthrowing Elizabeth I and taking control of England his ships could easily pass to the Netherlands from Spain. Delivering supplies to the Spanish troops would also be easier. In addition, the sea-dogs of the English were also affecting the trade of Spain in Silver. Sir Francis Drake and his men attacked Spanish ships leading to losses of huge amounts of money when these ships were sunk.
Unfortunately, the Spanish armada was unable to establish anchorage in Solent when Francis Drake captured one of the Spanish Ship in English Channel. This led to dropping off of the anchor. A fire ship’s attack by the English scattered the Armada and a battle of Grave lines ensued in which Spanish fleet suffered severe damage that forced it to abandon the rendezvous with the Parma’s army.
The Spanish armada managed to regroup later after which they were driven by the southwest winds and withdrew north. Eventually the commander ordered them to return to back home in Spain.
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