The Virgin Queen and the Spanish Armada in Full
Queen Elizabeth the First, one of Britain’s finest monarchs of history, is well known for several achievements. One of these notable achievements is her defeat of the Spanish Armada. Even her enemies doted upon her victory as well as her leadership skill. The Count of Feria remarked upon her Elizabeth’s leadership skill by noting: ”Not only was she “a young lass who, although sharp, is without prudence,” he later wrote Philip that her impetuosity was all the more dangerous because she was “incomparably more feared than her sister, and gives her orders and has her way as absolutely as her father did. (Thomas 85 i.e.)”” Throughout Europe Elizabeth was well respected as a ruler and more so as a woman.
To fully understand the Battle of the Spanish Armada in its entirety there has to be an understanding of how it began. Many things contributed to the Spanish incursion of British waters. These would include, but are not limited to: Queen Elizabeth being unmarried, the “French alliance,” and Elizabeth’s personal association with King Philip of Spain (Robinson 227).
Early in life Elizabeth went through much adversity considering she was “the bastard daughter of the whore, Anne Boleyn” as well as a potential heir to the throne of Great Britain (Delderfield 74). A life with such potential for greatness also meant potential for much hardship and thusly led Elizabeth to have many interesting experiences that helped shape her as a leader. This gained experience was shown plainly later in her life as it was commented upon in this way: “Due to her early experiences, where she was often saved by caution, circumspection helped her perfect a technique which was to hold her in good stead throughout her reign: the technique of giving answerless answers.”” (Jackson 63) Elizabeth used this to keep in good graces with neighboring countries and those of further expanse while at the same time keeping herself unmarried. One man in particular, however, was especially stubborn, King Philip of Spain.
King Philip was Mary Tudor’s husband making him Elizabeth’s brother in law (Thomas 154). Philip recognized and respected Elizabeth’s leadership talents. In fact, he respected it so much that he copied some of her strategies. These strategies included making his own final decisions in private where he could not be influenced by exterior forces, acquiring written reports from advisors, not second guessing his own decisions, and having private, face-to-face interviews to avoid being ganged up on by all his advisors. He, however, took this to the extreme when paranoia set in during his Holy War for Roman Catholicism. Another blunder of Philip’s was that he never held a war meeting with a proper council. He simply pilfered through countless strategies and suggestions submitted by his allies. Due to this, he overlooked several important, albeit minuscule, details that would have otherwise been pointed out in a proper meeting. For that reason he forgot that he did not readily provide a way for his invading forces to attain sustenance or rest along the shore line. A major point that is always associated with the Spanish Armada is the size of their ships (Thomas 155, 156). “The Ark Royal, flagship of Lord Admiral Howard at the time of the Armada. She was a four-master of 800 tons and carried 425 men.” (Halliday 98) In contrast, the English used smaller but faster ships. However, they could do little to penetrate the crescent shape of the Armada even though they had powerful cannons on board. The Spanish ships were large and slow relying on the power of galleons. Ship for ship the Spanish had the advantage in power but the English had speed and strategic standing.
By not marrying, Elizabeth was able to stay focused on business at hand without the distractions of having to raise children or look after a family. Being single also allowed her to hold a more powerful role;...