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Armada, Spanish(ärmä`də), 1588, fleet launched by Philip IIPhilip II,
1527–98, king of Spain (1556–98), king of Naples and Sicily (1554–98), and, as Philip I, king of Portugal (1580–98). Philip's Reign
..... Click the link for more information. of Spain for the invasion of England, to overthrow the Protestant Elizabeth I and establish Philip on the English throne; also called the Invincible Armada. Preparations, under the command of the marqués de Santa Cruz, began in 1586 but were seriously delayed by a surprise attack on Cádiz by Sir Francis DrakeDrake, Sir Francis,
1540?–1596, English navigator and admiral, first Englishman to circumnavigate the world (1577–80). Early Career
He was born in Devonshire, the son of a yeoman, and was at an early age apprenticed to a ship captain.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1587. By the time the expedition was ready Santa Cruz had died, and command was given to the duque de Medina SidoniaMedina Sidonia, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, duque de
, 1550–1615, Spanish nobleman and commander in chief of the Spanish Armada. The 7th duke of one of Spain's most ancient, illustrious, and wealthy houses, Medina Sidonia was appointed captain general of
..... Click the link for more information. . The Armada consisted of 130 ships, including transports and merchantmen, and carried about 30,000 men. It was to go to Flanders and from there convoy the army of Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma, to invade England. It set out from Lisbon in May, 1588, but was forced into A Coruña by storms and did not set sail again until July. Medina Sidonia's orders were to proceed straight up the English Channel and refuse battle until he had made junction with Parma. This gave the initiative to the English, whose main fleet, commanded by Charles Howard (later earl of NottinghamNottingham, Charles Howard, 1st earl of
, 1536–1624, English nobleman. A member of one of the branches of the Howard family, he succeeded his father as Baron Howard of Effingham in 1573.
..... Click the link for more information. ), sailed out from Plymouth to achieve the windward side of the Spanish and attacked at long range. Three minor actions followed, in which the Armada was somewhat damaged but its formation unbroken. On Aug. 6, Medina Sidonia anchored off Calais, from which position he hoped to make contact with Parma. The following night the English sent fire ships into the anchorage, causing the Spanish fleet to scatter, and then attacked (Aug. 8) at close range off Gravelines. Unable to re-form, the Armada was severely battered, but a sudden change in the wind enabled most of the ships to escape northward. In attempting to sail home by Scotland and the west coast of Ireland, the Spanish ships were dispersed by storms; their provisions gave out; and many of those who landed in Ireland were killed by English troops. Only about half the fleet reached home.
See G. Mattingly, The Armada (1959); A. McKee, From Merciless Invaders (1964); W. Graham, The Spanish Armadas (1972).
Spanish Armada:see Armada, SpanishArmada, Spanish
, 1588, fleet launched by Philip II of Spain for the invasion of England, to overthrow the Protestant Elizabeth I and establish Philip on the English throne; also called the Invincible Armada.
..... Click the link for more information. .
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defeat by English fleet marked Spain’s decline and England’s rise as a world power (1588). [Eur. Hist.: EB, 1: 521–522]
Britain supplanted Spain as master of the sea. [Br. Hist.: Harbottle, 19]
See: Turning Point
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.