Philip II launched the famed Spanish Armada against England in the Spring of 1588. The Armada was a mighty fleet of 130 ships bearing 25,000 sailors and soldiers under the command of the duke of Medina-Sidonia. The main reason that Philip attacked England was because English Queen Elizabeth I had beheaded Mary, Queen of Scots. The reason that Elizabeth killed Mary was that Mary was conspiring against Elizabeth in a murder attempt. One of these was called the Babington Plan. The results of this struggle were that Spain was sent on a decline that it never recovered from, and England started it’s rise into world prominence.
Elizabeth’s beheading of Mary was seen as a huge blow to Catholics. It also signaled the end of the last chance for a Catholic England. This made Philip furious as Spain was strictly Catholic. He immediately made plans to set his Armada on England. The Armada was by the English and Netherlands navy’s and was defeated by the quicker English ships. Also aiding the English in battle was a large storm that came to be known as an “English Wind”. Another reason for the English victory was that they had better captains. They’re captains included such famous names as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and John Hawkins. The Spanish who were not used to sailing in such weather had trouble. Over one-third of the Armada did not make it back to Spain.
The loss of such a large part of the Armada was devastating for Spain. That loss coupled with the effects of the Holy Inquisition made sure that Spain never recovered as a huge world power. Even though Spain won some impressive victories, the Armada never recovered for Spain. Soon, France was the main power, and countries like England and the Netherlands whittled away at Spain’s once mighty Empire.
The defeat of the Spanish Armada was had a large effect on the English. They had knocked Catholic Spain back and were proud of it. The news of the Armada’s defeat gave heart to Protestant resistance everywhere. This victory, along with everything that Queen Elizabeth did helped England to gain power. This victory also marked the beginning of the English navy being the superior navy in the world. The superior English captains also played a large part in their navy’s prominence.
By the time of Philip’s death, Spain was on full decline. His forces had been rebuffed on all fronts and other countries were starting to gain more power. When Elizabeth died, England was a growing power full of wealth. England’s navy was growing, and the country was about to emerge as the new world leader. The defeat of the Spanish Armada was a turning point in history for Western Europe.
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