The defeat of the Spanish Armada.
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THE DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA The Spanish Armada was a powerful navy that attempted to enter England by force in 1588. This navy had been called previously "The Invincible Armada", because the Spaniards thought that it could not be defeated (The History of...). Philip II of Spain had many reasons to want to get rid of Queen Elizabeth. For a long time, English ships had been attacking Spanish treasure ships and raiding Spanish settlements in the Americas. Queen Elizabeth declined punishing the privateers and would not return the treasures that they had acquired. Another reason was the making of England an uncomfortable country for Catholics, since they could be fined or kept captive for not attending the Protestant Church. As she encouraged Protestant ideas, she was willing to fight against Catholic Spain. English troops had been fighting together with the Dutch rebels in their war opposing their Spanish rulers (Shenkman). The mentioned fleet was made up of 130 ships and 30,000 men, the majority of which were soldiers.
As the Armada was so large and slow, the English, commanded by Lord Howard and Francis Drake, decided to use an old trick. On the 29th of July, the English sent off eight of their own ships upwind, filled with gunpowder set on fire directed in the way of the Armada. This incident happened at night with the Spanish anchored at Calais. Seeing the ships on fire coming, they cut their anchor lines to escape the flames, which worked, since they were barely able to flee from the English vessels, however, from then on the Spanish were at the mercy of the winds. This supposed that they were unable to keep off the rocks, and dozens of ships sank. Sixty galleons were attacked later that morning by an equal number of warships. The Spaniards lost two galleons, and others were severely harmed during that assault (Burke). The crippled Armada fled towards the North Sea, and tried to return to Spain sailing around the British islands.
Things got even worse after the battle, though Spain did not officially lose it, their kingdom was in a great financial problem. Despite the fact that many people think Spain slipped into an immediate decline, there are motives to believe that Spain was even more powerful after the defeat than before, since they recovered more riches from the colonies than in any other previous fifteen-year period (Goldman). It was in 1603 when its great decline started and England became a major power in Europe. Even though Spain looked towards battles very confidently, they always ended up defeated, which hurt them greatly. This added to the continuous decline of the Spanish economy, production, and common well-being. It became obvious that Spain was not anymore such a powerful country as it used to be. There were permanent revolts by the citizens against its government. Nowadays, Spain is a popular country, but not nearly as influential and successful as they once were. The battle of the Spanish "Invincible" Armada against the English will forever remain as one of the most popular naval wars of all time.
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