The War with Spain

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The War with Spain

During the 1560s and 1570s Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603; reigned 1558–1603) kept England out of all major wars. She consistently hesitated to act on advice she received from her Privy Council, the board of advisors that administered her government. This frustrated the Council enormously, for they often felt that England should rush into military action. In hindsight, however, her indecision may have served England well. The two decades of peace allowed England to build its economic and military power, bringing stability and prosperity to the land.

With her religious settlement of 1559, Elizabeth had aimed to secure internal peace by unifying England under one church. (For more information on Elizabeth's religious settlement, see Chapter 3.) She allowed those who had been raised in the Catholic Church to believe what they liked as long as they conformed outwardly to the new Anglican Church. She knew that within a generation or two, those who had been raised in the Catholic religion would die off and younger generations would have no memory of the traditional church. Her efforts were highly successful. By the 1570s the majority of English Catholics were loyal to the queen; many satisfied themselves with practicing forbidden traditions (such as the Catholic mass and confession) only in private. The younger generations would never fully experience the tradition that had been lost.

The peaceful, but complete, end of Catholicism in England that Elizabeth envisioned was intolerable to many Catholics abroad. The Roman Catholic Church gathered its forces against the English queen, viewing her as the one great obstacle in the way of bringing England back to its traditional religion. Far more dangerous to Elizabeth was her former brother-in-law, the Spanish king Philip II (1527–1598), who had gradually come to view the restoration of Catholicism to England as his divine mission. By the early 1580s Spain had become the greatest threat to England's security.


The Spanish word for a fleet of ships.
A top official in the Roman Catholic Church, ranking just below the pope.
Counter Reformation
Also called the Catholic Reformation; the period beginning in the 1520s when the Catholic Church, partially in response to the rise of Protestantism, tried to reunify Europe under Catholicism and to spread Roman Catholic Christianity to the New World, Asia, and Africa.
A religious opinion that conflicts with the church's doctrines.
Holy Roman Empire
A loose confederation of states and territories, including the German states and most of central Europe, that existed from 962 to 1806 and was considered the supreme political body of the Christian people.
Seafarers who own and operate their own ships independently but are authorized by their government to raid the ships of enemy nations, often capturing the entire ship with all its cargo.
Privy Council
The board of advisors that carried out the administrative function of the government in matters of economy, defense, foreign policy, and law and order, and its members served as the king's or queen's chief advisors.
A sixteenth-century religious movement that aimed to reform the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the establishment of Protestant churches.

Philip II

Spain became the dominant power in Europe in 1492; its formerly independent provinces united in the same year that explorer Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) made his historic voyage to the New World. This year also marked the beginning of Spain's colonial empire. Spain's army quickly earned fame, winning every land battle in which it fought for more than a century. In 1516 Charles V (1500–1558) became the king of Spain. Charles was also the Holy Roman Emperor, the leader of a loose confederation of states and territories that included the German states and most of central Europe. His inheritance of Spain and other regions gave him control of a major portion of Europe. Charles decided to divide up his empire in 1554, giving Spain and the Netherlands to his son, Philip. At that time Spain included all of present-day Spain, plus the southern part of present-day Italy—Naples, Sardinia, and Sicily—and Spain's overseas colonies—most of South and Central America and parts of Africa. The Netherlands, also called the Lowlands, at the time included present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, the present-day Netherlands, and parts of France and Germany. Philip had become the ruler of a vast and powerful empire.

Philip was a very restrained, hard-working king. He was a quiet man, preferring solitude and work to court and society. The Spanish king trusted no one and did not allow others to help him with the duties of running a large kingdom. He reviewed every government document, analyzed the accounts, and deliberated painfully over every decision, whether large or small. His military forces were the most powerful in Europe, but they were made less effective by the fact that they were frequently forced to wait for word from the king himself before taking action.

Philip was a devout Catholic. As early as 1573 he had signed a treaty with Pope Gregory XIII (1502–1585), agreeing to invade England and exterminate Protestant heresy there. But Philip distrusted the pope, and he chose to control the Spanish Catholic church himself. The pope feared Philip. The power of the church in Rome would be greatly reduced if Philip became the supreme ruler in Europe. The extreme distrust between the pope and the Spanish king hindered the mission to restore Catholicism to England.

Hostilities grew very slowly between Spain and England. Philip initially respected Elizabeth. He had protected her when his wife, Queen Mary I (1516–1558), had been determined to execute Elizabeth as a traitor. He had even proposed marriage to Elizabeth after Mary died. Though his motives for the proposal were certainly political, in the first two decades of Elizabeth's reign, Philip seemed willing to accept her as queen (though always under careful watch), perhaps believing that she would soon come to her senses and return to the Catholic religion. Like Elizabeth, Philip was hesitant to go to war. Despite the great wealth brought into Spain from the gold and silver mines in the New World, the Spanish economy was weak, particularly because of conflicts in the Netherlands.

It was around 1580 that Philip started planning the "Enterprise of England," a plan to invade and conquer the island, starting with building a great fleet of war ships known as the Armada (the Spanish word for "fleet"). He had many reasons to choose war. For Philip the primary reason was religious: he believed it was his obligation to God to eliminate Protestant heresy from Europe. But it was also an attempt at territorial conquest. With England under Spanish rule, Philip would have a strategic foothold over a large area of western Europe, expanding his vast empire as well as his religion. War was also a reaction to what Philip considered bad behavior on Elizabeth's part: her aid to rebels against him in the Netherlands, English raids of Spanish ships (see Chapter 6), and finally the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542–1587), who was considered by many Catholics to be the rightful queen of England.

Rebellion in the Netherlands

The Spanish economy had come to depend on the tax revenue raised in the Netherlands, which had become an extremely prosperous center of international trade. Philip, who never set foot in the Netherlands after 1559, had little understanding of the Dutch. Trying to organize the small states in his own way, he disregarded the traditional authority of the local governments. Moreover, when Protestantism was embraced in the northern areas of the Netherlands (located in the present-day Netherlands) in the 1560s, Philip took strong measures to stamp it out completely. Resistance to his harsh rule and taxation increased until, in 1566, the large cities of the Netherlands rose up in rebellion. Philip sent in Spanish troops to subdue the rebels, and a war for national independence began that would continue throughout Philip's reign. In 1579 the primarily Protestant rebels in the north declared themselves independent. The southern part (the area roughly comprising present-day Belgium) was mainly Catholic and was persuaded for a time to remain under Spanish control. Philip's armies renewed their efforts in the northern territories.

Some of Philip's advisors were convinced that Protestant England and its queen were supporting the rebels in the Netherlands. They called for the invasion, believing they could subdue the Netherlands if England was under Spanish control. Others advised the king that it would be folly to try to invade England without already having a firm base in the Netherlands.

Elizabeth's foreign policy

For many years England's foreign policy had been dependent on the relations between the two larger European powers of France and Spain. Traditionally Spain and France had been enemies. England had been friendly with Spain and hostile to France. By the 1570s, however, Spain and France had negotiated a fragile peace. France had been torn apart by religious wars between the Huguenots (French Calvinists, or Protestants) and the Catholic French government, making Spain by far the most powerful empire. If Philip cemented his rule over the Netherlands, England would face a block of Catholic, and possibly hostile, nations of Europe directly across the English Channel. Elizabeth intended to prevent such consolidation of power.

Elizabeth hoped to join forces, at least temporarily, with the French. France was ruled by Catherine de Médici (1519–1589), the mother of France's young King Charles. De Médici was a notorious schemer who provoked France's religious conflict. By pitting the Huguenots against the Catholic dukes of France, she hoped to increase the power of her sons. Her scheming caused nine bloody religious wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths, including the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots on St. Batholomew's Day in 1572. (For more information on the St. Bartholemew's Day Massacre, See Chapter 4.) Many members of Elizabeth's Privy Council, horrified to see fellow Protestants in danger, urged the queen to aid the Huguenots. Elizabeth, though disgusted with the slaughter, preferred to maintain diplomatic relations with France as a defense against Spanish control of western Europe.

Marriage between monarchs had long been the favored means of establishing alliances among nations, and Elizabeth preferred courtship to war. De Médici eagerly offered each of her three sons to marry the English queen. The first two were quickly dismissed, but when de Médici sent her third son, François, Duke of Alençon (1555–1584), to court Elizabeth in 1579, the forty-five-year-old queen unexpectedly responded enthusiastically, and even showed signs of falling in love with her suitor. She called Alençon her "little frog" (he had been badly scarred by smallpox as a child), wrote him poems, kissed him in public, and gave him her ring. Many historians believe that Elizabeth only made a show of love and interest in marriage in the interest of a political alliance with France, but others argue that she had developed genuine feelings for him. Regardless of her intentions, opposition in England to this marriage to the detested French royalty was very high; in fact, it was clear that an uprising might result if the queen were to marry her suitor. Elizabeth gave up the match.

In 1585 Spanish forces captured the Dutch commercial capital of Antwerp (in modern-day Belgium). With Spanish troops less than one hundred miles from London, Elizabeth was finally persuaded by her Privy Council to send a small army to aid the Dutch revolt. Robert Dudley (Earl of Leicester; 1532–1588), her longtime favorite, took command of a force of seven thousand soldiers and set off to help the rebels. But the English forces did little to help the Dutch rebels, and in 1587 Elizabeth called Dudley back to London. Nevertheless, her commitment of troops was a key factor in convincing Philip to wage war on England.

Francis Drake, the Master Thief of the Unknown World

On the open seas, English privateers gave Philip further reason for war. (Privateers are seafarers who own and operate their own ships independently but are authorized by their government to raid the ships of enemy nations, often capturing the entire ship with all its cargo.) In 1585, enraged by English raids on his ships, Philip made a plan to strike back. His ministers let it be known that Spain needed to purchase wheat to feed its troops. English merchants responded, sending ships filled with wheat to sell to Spanish ports. But Spanish soldiers seized the English ships, cargo and all. Elizabeth responded in kind by issuing "letters of marque" to any merchant or ship owner who had lost a ship or goods to the Spanish. These letters authorized the holder to seize any Spanish ships they encountered on the seas to compensate for the amount they had lost. Many English ship owners were experienced pirates (robbers on the high seas, who seized ships and their cargo). Among the English raiders, no one inspired as much fear and awe among Spaniards as Francis Drake (c. 1540–1596), whom they called the Master Thief of the Unknown World.

Drake was the most famous and successful English privateer. In his youth Drake had developed a life-long hatred for the Spanish, and began raiding Spanish ships in the 1560s. He learned the routes of the ships transporting gold and silver from the New World and raided Spanish ports in the Americas, all with great success. Elizabeth pretended to disapprove because she was engaged in peacekeeping negotiations with Spain, but she privately encouraged Drake in his raids and happily accepted a significant portion of the vast riches he seized from the Spanish. (For more information on Drake and other English privateers, see Chapter 6.)

In 1585, with hostilities between England and Spain high, Drake outfitted a twenty-three-ship fleet that included two of the queen's own vessels and set off to attack Spanish ports. He first attacked the port of Vigo in Galicia (a territory in northwest Spain). He then sailed to Santo Domingo (the capital of Spain's American empire and the present-day capital of the Dominican Republic) and Cartagena (a large and wealthy port on the north coast of Colombia that was the center of the silver trade), raiding both ports. On his way back to England, Drake also attacked the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine, Florida. The expedition greatly damaged the Spanish fleet.

In 1587 Drake led a naval attack on the Spanish port of Cadiz, where his small fleet surprised a large number of Spanish warships. Drake burned and sank a number of ships and slipped away before the Spanish could recover. Despite his success Drake could see that the Spanish Armada was a formidable enemy and sent word warning the English to prepare themselves. Elizabeth, though, was trying to negotiate with Philip in the hope of preventing war. To avoid further hostility, she prevented the frustrated Drake from resuming his raids.

But Philip's intentions toward England were no longer peaceful. He was infuriated that Elizabeth had not stopped the lawless behavior of English privateers. Along with damaging Philip's fleet and stealing his gold and silver, Drake and the other privateers had badly disrupted the Spanish economy. Merchants and traders, fearing privateer raids, chose not to transport goods from the New World that were essential to Spain and the support of Philip's troops. Although Philip continued to negotiate with Elizabeth, he was only stalling for time as he built up his Armada and prepared to invade England.

Plots surrounding the Queen of Scots

The many political plots surrounding Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, also influenced Philip's decision to go to war against England. After the plots of the early 1570s to replace Elizabeth on the English throne, Mary Stuart had lived for well over a decade as a prisoner in England. (For more information, see Chapter 5.) She continued to smuggle letters to the pope, her relatives in France, and Philip, hoping to persuade them to invade England and place her on its throne. Few of her contacts were interested in helping her. Initially Philip did not support Mary Stuart. He was disgusted by her immoral behavior and distrusted her strong connection to the French. Philip worried that the French would gain influence and power in England if Mary took the throne. But by the early 1580s tension between England and Spain convinced him that Elizabeth might be worse than her Scottish cousin.

In 1582 Mary convinced Spain's ambassador in England that, given a bit of help from abroad, English Catholics would rise up in great numbers to rebel against Elizabeth. The ambassador conspired with a young English Catholic nobleman, Francis Throckmorton (1554–1584) in a plot to overthrow Elizabeth and liberate Mary. Elizabeth's councilors learned of the plan and arrested Throckmorton, who, under torture, told the details of the plot. He was executed and the Spanish ambassador was expelled from the country. Plots involving Mary continued to surface, though, and the Privy Council and English Parliament called once again for the execution of Mary Stuart. Elizabeth hesitated to kill a sovereign. She did not believe that any court had the authority to pass judgment on a sovereign queen.

Francis Walsingham, spymaster

In 1573 Elizabeth had promoted her secretary of state, William Cecil (Lord Burghley; 1520–1598), to become the lord high treasurer. She replaced him as secretary with Francis Walsingham (1532–1590), a Puritan, a member of a group of radical Protestants who followed the teachings of Swiss theologian John Calvin, and former ambassador to France. Over the years Walsingham had constructed an intricate network of spies throughout Europe to keep track of the Catholic conspiracies against Elizabeth and other Protestants. As Elizabeth's chief councilor in charge of security, he was determined to eliminate the threat posed by Mary Stuart.

In 1585 Walsingham developed a plan. He convinced Gilbert Gifford, a Catholic spy and one of Mary's trusted messengers, to become a double agent working for Elizabeth. Gifford established a secret system of communication for Mary in which her letters, written in code, could be smuggled out of her residence concealed in the boards of beer kegs. Correspondence from abroad could be smuggled to her in the same way. What Mary did not know was that Walsingham had arranged to see every piece of correspondence before it was delivered. He even had a special school where the letters were sent for decoding. In this way he hoped to collect enough evidence to convict Mary of treason. It was not long before Walsingham's plan succeeded.

A Jesuit priest named John Ballard arrived in England in 1586 to initiate an uprising of English Catholics supported by an invasion of the Spanish military. He contacted Anthony Babington (1561–1586), a young nobleman who had once served as a page, or attendant, to Mary Stuart. Like most men who came into contact with the beautiful and persuasive queen of Scots, Babington was devoted to her and he was eager to take part in a plot against the Protestant government. In July 1586 Babington wrote to Mary, communicating the details of his plan to kill Elizabeth with the help of six of his friends so that Mary could take the throne. In a long letter intercepted by Walsingham, Mary agreed to the Babington plot, including the murder of Elizabeth. Babington and his friends were arrested and confessed to the plot, acknowledging Mary's involvement in it. Her treason was at last a proven fact.

The execution of Mary Stuart

England was in an uproar; nearly everyone demanded Mary's execution. Elizabeth still did not want to be held responsible for her cousin's death, particularly because Mary's son, James VI of Scotland (1566–1625), was one of her few allies. She asked the noblemen who guarded Mary to murder her in her sleep, but no one was willing to risk it. After a great deal of hesitation, Elizabeth finally signed the death warrant. However, instead of ordering it delivered to the place of execution, she dramatically threw it on the floor. Her councilors picked it up and, without further authorization, sent it to the prison where the queen of Scots was held. Afterwards Elizabeth could pretend she had not been responsible for the execution.

On February 8, 1587, Mary Stuart was beheaded in front of her weeping ladies-in-waiting and three hundred spectators. Dressed in a blood-red bodice and petticoat as a sign that she was a martyr (someone who accepts punishment or death rather than deny their religious convictions) of the Catholic Church, Mary faced her death with courage and composure, calmly committing herself to God before the axe fell. Protestants in England celebrated the death of Mary Stuart, but Catholic Europe mourned. The pope called for war against England and urged Philip to invade. He also gave permission to Philip to name a new heir to the English throne to replace Mary Stuart. Philip named his own daughter as the rightful queen of England and began his final plans for invasion.

England prepares for war

As late as the summer of 1587 Elizabeth was still trying to negotiate peace with Spain. Her commissioners discussed terms with the commander of the Spanish forces in the Netherlands, Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (1545–1592). In the spring of 1588 a dismayed Elizabeth learned that Philip had designated his daughter as the rightful queen of England. She began preparations for a Spanish attack.

Every soldier and statesman in England understood that if Spanish troops were able to successfully invade English shores, England could not win a land battle. There were only a few hundred professional soldiers scattered throughout the whole nation. In an invasion, local militias, or groups of volunteers, would be responsible for defending most of the country. Hastily formed and mostly unarmed and untrained, these militias could not win against the superior armies of Spain. In fact it would have been nearly impossible to protect every port in England from invasion, and no one knew where Philip intended to attack.

England had a small but outstanding navy, thanks largely to Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII (1491–1547). At his death the English navy included fifty-three warships. They were expensive to maintain, though, and by the time of Mary I's reign, the navy had diminished to thirty ships. Philip, as Mary's husband, had argued strongly in favor of building up England's navy, considering it the country's best means of defense. He could not have foreseen that, thirty years later, Spain would be battling the very ships he had advocated.

Since becoming queen Elizabeth had devoted her resources to maintaining and building up the English navy. According to most historians she made a brilliant choice in her 1578 appointment of the former slave-trader and privateer John Hawkins (1532–1595) as treasurer of the navy. (For more information on Hawkins's slave trade, see Chapter 6.) Hawkins developed a new kind of warship that was much lighter, faster, and easier to operate than earlier ships. He trained a small, elite group of highly skilled and motivated sailors, giving them better working conditions and higher wages in return for top performance. Hawkins, more than anyone else, was responsible for making the English fleet the most modern navy in the world. Elizabeth's navy numbered about thirty-four ships in 1588, and thirty private vessels armed for battle also volunteered to fight the Spanish Armada.

Elizabeth chose talented commanders for the English fleet. The top command was given to her cousin, Admiral Lord (Charles) Howard of Effingham (1536–1624). Second in command officers included Francis Drake, John Hawkins, and explorer and privateer Martin Frobisher (c. 1535–1594), among others. Lord Howard had the least amount of sea experience, but he was an outstanding commander who knew how to utilize the skills and experience of his captains.

English strategy in a naval battle was simple. They knew they could not compete in hand-to-hand combat with the skilled Spaniards, who would try to board their ships. To avoid being boarded, the English fleet prepared to use long-range cannons to fire at the Spanish ships from a safe distance. Elizabeth gave the commanders of the fleet the authority to make all decisions during battle.

Philip's plan

The preparation of the Spanish Armada took two years, beginning in 1586. Philip placed Don Alonso Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno, Duke of Medina Sidonia (1550–1615), in command. The duke was an experienced soldier on land, but he had no naval experience. Philip did not share decision-making even with the commander. He mapped out detailed instructions, leaving little room to adapt to circumstances. Medina Sidonia was to set out from the port at Lisbon, Portugal (which Philip had ruled since 1580) with the Armada's 130 ships, carrying nineteen thousand soldiers and eight thousand sailors, as well as arms and supplies for the voyage. The Armada would sail up the English Channel and meet up somewhere along the way with the Duke of Parma's forces. The combined fleet would transport thirty thousand troops from the Netherlands to the English port of Kent. From there they could begin their land invasion under the command of Parma. Philip did not assign a specific place for Parma and Medina Sidonia to meet. The king had faith that, since he was carrying out God's task, God would bring the troops together when the time came.

Naval fighting was not the strength of the Spanish military. The Spanish troops were trained to damage an enemy ship by sailing in close and then shooting it with heavy guns and cannons. Once the damage was inflicted, they were prepared to board and engage in the hand-to-hand combat, in which they excelled. Most of the ships of the Armada were converted merchant ships. They were designed to carry the heavy cargo necessary for long voyages. As a result they were bulky and could not be easily maneuvered.

The Spanish Armada

The Armada set off from Lisbon in May 1588, but several bad storms slowed its progress. On July 29, a storm-battered Armada entered the English Channel. Rather than attacking the English at once, Medina Sidonia gathered his officers to determine what to do. The Duke of Parma had not received word of the Armada's arrival and was six days away from the coast. Most of the ship captains wanted to immediately attack the English fleet, but Philip's instructions did not allow for change, so the Armada formed a defensive crescent shape and proceeded cautiously up the Channel hoping to meet up with Parma.

When the Armada was spotted by one of England's lookouts, the English fleet commanders were hurriedly preparing their ships for battle. According to English legend, Drake was in the middle of a game of bowls, a game similar to bowling that is played on a lawn. After hearing that the powerful Armada was nearby he coolly continued playing to the end of the game, once again demonstrating his fearlessness. The English fleet was ready to sail by nightfall, and by morning they were within sight of the Armada. For the next couple of days the two fleets tested each other's strengths and weaknesses. The Spaniards observed the superiority of English gunnery, and tried to force a closer fight so they could board the ships for hand-to-hand combat. The English knew this was what the Spanish planned and kept their distance.

Meanwhile, the Spanish fleet continued up the English Channel. Medina Sidonia wanted to make contact with Parma, so he led his fleet across the Channel and dropped anchor near Calais, France. The English took advantage of the situation. On the night of August 7 they filled eight of their oldest vessels with dry materials, set them on fire, and let the wind propel the burning ships directly into the Spanish fleet. Preloaded guns on the decks of the fire ships discharged in response to the heat of the fire, shooting directly into the Spanish ranks. In a panic, some of the Spanish captains headed for open water. Only after frantic efforts did the Spanish commander bring the fleet back into formation.

The following morning all the available English ships closed in on the Spanish fleet in the fierce, nine-hour Battle of Gravelines. The Spaniards fought well, but the English, with their light warships and superior gunnery, delivered many damaging blows. After a storm brought the fighting to a halt Medina Sidonia considered renewing the battle. Instead he decided to return to Spain to get more supplies. As the Armada sailed around the north of Scotland and then southward off the west coast of Ireland, they encountered unusually violent storms. These storms sank more ships than the English guns had. The survivors of the storms still had to complete the voyage home, during which infectious diseases raged on board the ships. Only 66 of the original 130 ships made it back to Spain, and fewer than half of the thirty thousand men survived the voyage.

The English, facing the same spread of infectious diseases, had followed the Armada only as far as Edinburgh, and then returned to port. Hundreds of English seamen died from disease. The survivors were forced to wait months for their pay from the nearly bankrupted royal treasury. Many English soldiers died of disease or starvation after their success in battle.

The aftermath

On the coasts of England the English people kept watch for a Spanish invasion, not yet knowing the fate of the Armada. By August 18 it was considered safe enough for the queen to ride to Tilbury, where about seventeen thousand men, under the command of Robert Dudley, massed in preparation for the threatened invasion. There the queen delivered one of her most stirring speeches, as quoted in the Norton Anthology of Literature, 6th edition:

I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms….

The English enthusiastically celebrated their victory, which proved that Spain's domination could be stopped and that England had a rightful place among the powers of Europe. Elizabeth's standing as the triumphant queen of England was revered. But most Englishmen understood that their victory could be attributed as much to the weather as to military competence. This nine-day battle would not end the war. In fact Spain and England would continue to battle for fifteen more years, and England won very few victories. England's attempt to invade Spain and Portugal in April 1589 failed miserably. In 1596 Francis Drake and John Hawkins both died after being defeated by the Spanish in Puerto Rico. Spain did little better, however. In 1596 and 1597 Philip used his vast resources to send two fleets greater than the original Armada to invade England but they were, once again, scattered by storms. Until Elizabeth's death England and Spain remained in a stalemate.

For More Information


Hanson, Neil. The Confident Hope of a Miracle: The True History of the Spanish Armada. New York: Knopf, 2005.

Martin, Colin and Geoffrey Parker. The Spanish Armada. New York: Norton, 1988.

Norton Anthology of Literature. 6th edition, Vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Smith, Lacey Baldwin. The Elizabethan Epic. London: Panther, 1969.

Weir, Alison. The Life of Elizabeth I. New York: Ballantine Books, 1998.


McKinnon-Bell, David. "Philip II of Spain: Champion of Catholicism." History Today, September 2001, pp. 19-24.


Adams, Simon. "The Spanish Armada: Church and State, Monarchs and Leaders." BBC History. (accessed on July 11, 2006).

Alchin, Linda. "The Spanish Armada." Elizabethan Era. (accessed on July 11, 2006).

Hooker, Richard. "The Wars of Religion." World Civilizations.∼dee/REFORM/WARS.HTM (accessed on July 11, 2006).