Spanish Armada What really happened???
July 31, 1588 The Spanish awoke this morning to see that the English fleet had split into two groups of ships. One group had done a fancy bit of sailing by tacking along the English coast and had slipped in behind the Armada, gaining critical advantage. The English vessels were in the windward position and had the “weather gauge” that is, the wind at its back filling its sails. They could attack whenever they wished, and do so at considerable speed. Ships with the “weather gauge” could fight or break off as they pleased.
August 7, 1588 • This night Sir Francis Drake and the English command prepared 8 “fire ships.” Each ship was loaded with barrels of oil and bundles of wood soaked in pitch with all cannon set to go off when flames reached them. A skeleton crew of volunteers on each vessel sailed the ships in the dark in sailing line formation directly at the anchored Spanish Armada. They were to sail as close to the Spanish ships as possible, light the fires and try to escape at the last possible moment by rowboats. The plan worked better than they had imagined. The ships sent the Spanish commanders into panic amid shouts that said “the devil ships are coming.” They cut their anchors and set sail in the dark. Ships in such close quarters slammed into each other and they entire Spanish crescent formation was in complete disarray.
August 8, 1588 • English ships swung into action and the disabled Spanish ships became easy targets. By the end of the day many of the Spaniards’ finest ships were gone. The faster English ships maneuvered for sinking after sinking. This decisive battle rendered the greatest navy in the world useless in a single day.
Philip II • Hapsburg King; son of Charles I/V; absolute monarch of Spain; known as the “Prudent King” • extended Spanish colonization of the southern U.S. and to the Philippines • after his 1st wife died, he married “Bloody Mary” of England; as soon as she died, he tried to marry her sister, Elizabeth to gain England’s alliance against France—she refused; involved Spain in many costly wars
Most powerful Spanish monarch—used the Inquisition to repress the Moriscos—Muslims who had become Christians and the Marranos—Jews who had become Christians • He did not believe they all converted, he wanted to ensure Catholicism was the ONLY faith in Spain—Protestantism never gained a following • He also tried to force the Dutch to become Catholic