The Spanish Armada
Ms. Rees World History I
21 May 2013
Failure of Spanish Armada In May 1588, the Spanish Armada left the Portuguese port of Lisbon, headed for England with more than 130 ships. Since their discovery of the New World almost 100 years before, the Spanish had built one of the wealthiest and most powerful empires on earth. King Philip II of Spain wanted to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England for both political and religious reasons. Elizabeth had assisted the Protestant rebels in the Netherlands to overthrow Spanish rule in the region. She also had been allowing English pirates called privateers to attack Spanish treasure ships returning from the New World. What only added fuel to the fire were the religious disputes between a Catholic Spain and a Protestant England, whose national church had split from the Catholic Church after the excommunication of Henry VIII in 1535. Outnumbered and outgunned, the English defeated the Spanish Armada in a series of unforgettable naval encounters. The serendipitous event of the English victory over the Armada changed the balance of world power. It would have never been possible without happenstance occurrences like, death, weather, and new naval designs and strategies. Just months before Phillip’s Armada was launched, Don Alvaro de Bazen, Marquise of Santa Cruz, died of typhus in January. Santa Cruz had been a veteran leader and a naval captain unequalled in confidence and skill at the time. He was a narcissistic, avaricious, and cruel man; these qualities made him the ideal naval commander. It was said that only four people attended his burial, “and his death was regretted by no one”. (Martin 146) If he had not passed, Santa Cruz would’ve been the ideal admiral for the mission because he was so widely respected and was willing to die for his country without a second thought. One who knew Santa Cruz said he was “a grizzled veteran of Lepanto, offered to take on the whole English Navy at the word of the
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