The Spanish Armada
In Tudor times, Spain was the richest and most powerful country in the world.
British ships often looted Spanish ships of their treasure, Elizabeth encouraged this.
In 1558 King Phillip of Spain focused his power on invading England.
On May 1588 the Spanish Armadas 130 ships loaded with 30,000 men set sail to fight the British, but why?
Phillip the second king of Spain is angry with the British for many reasons here is why. Firstly British sailors have been stealing and setting fire to Spanish ships that were coming back from the new world (America) and stealing the gold and expensive goods, even worst the queen herself has allowed this. Secondly British soldiers have been helping the Dutch rebels in Holland, which is Spanish owned land. But most importantly Britain has become Protestant, Elizabeth the first Queen of England has also executed Mary Queen of Scots who is Catholic. Phillip would not stand this for any longer, he assembled one of the greatest fleets of ships ever assembled this included 130 ships that when assembled covered 12km of sea.
Spanish ships and British ships were far from alike Spanish ships were huge floating fortresses they were not very mobile and their main strength was the men they had on them. The problem for the Spanish is they could not use there men because the British ships were fast and very mobile and they were loaded with many cannons, the English used their ships to their advantage they kept their distance so the Spanish Men could not board their ships, instead they kept shooting from long range at the Spanish ships, trying to break order in the Spanish’s protective crescent.
Phillips plan was to sail to Calais where he would meet up with 20,000 of his troops, then he would sail on to England where he would turn the religion from Protestant to Catholic, but it was not quite that simple, on the 29th of July 1588 Spanish ships are spotted on the coast of Cornwall, the British fleet set sail from Plymouth after the Spaniards, also beacons are lit to warn nearby areas. The Spanish arrive at Calais and are safe from the British but the Spanish troops are not at Calais. By this time sir Francis Drake and his fleet of ships are attacking the Spanish ships with the Spanish’s most dreaded weapon, Fire ships, this is when old ships are filled with straw and flammable material then they are set light and sailed at the Spanish ships this technique separated the Spanish ships from there protective crescent the speedy English ships keep attacking from far away with their powerful cannons. As the Spaniards try to flee they get caught in a storm around Scotland and Ireland. Nearly every Spanish ship is damaged and the sailors are starving and injured, the few that survive and get to land get killed by the Scottish and Irish. Part of the reason of the British success was down to using their speed to shoot from distance at the Spanish ships and not to let them use their main strength, their men. The battle finished in the same year, 1588.