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Spanish Armada Essay

1903 words - 8 pages

The Spanish Armada was one of the most important historical events during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The fleet, under the command of Duke Medina Sidonia, and named in Spanish “Grande y Felicísima Armada” or “Armada Invencible” which translated literally to the "Great and Most Fortunate Navy" or "Invincible Fleet”, was comprised of 130 ships, with the purpose of attacking England, overthrowing Elizabeth Tudor and her Protestantism, which was in direct conflict with the Spanish Catholicism under the rule of King Philip II of Spain. Nothing was to go right for the Spanish - the Armada chose not to advance on the English at Plymouth, then after fire ships damaged the Spanish fleet, they ...view middle of the document...

Catholic by birth - she was the daughter of Henry’s first wife Catherine of Aragon, and was adversed to her father and half brother’s push to solidify Protestantism, determined to return the country to Catholicism. This religious conflict that arose in Mary’s reign and continued into Elizabeth’s was one of the main causes of the Spanish Armada of 1588. As seen by the resulting Armada, the lines drawn between Catholic Spain and Protestant England were all too apparent. It is evident that after Mary Tudor’s union with King Philip of Spain was terminated in her death, the two countries fell back into conflict - one Catholic, one Protestant, and therefore in direct competition and opposition with each other. In the days of 1588, religion was of much more importance than it is today in England - after the Protestant burnings in Mary’s strongly Catholic reign, religion was a sensitive subject among the prominently Protestant public who had feared for their lives in the extreme events of Mary rule. Consequentially, Philip found himself in opposition and competition with Elizabethan England, which held a profoundly Protestant outlook - though Elizabeth was far more moderate than her late sister. What with the Dutch religious controversy also making turmoil worse in England, Elizabeth found herself at the mantle of a country fearful and wary of yet another change in religion that could be brought about if Spain triumphed in their conquest. It was rather beneficial, therefore, that the religious conflict apparent in the days before the war spurred the eventual Armada sent by Philip, as it gave Elizabeth chance to prove her worth and power.

Another aspect of this religious conflict was the connections Philip himself had to Mary. The unity of the two countries spawned from the marriage of Elizabeth’s late sister Queen Mary Tudor, and Philip of Spain. These sorts of unions were common in Tudor times, with royal families frequently marrying off their sons and daughters to to-be monarchs from other countries, predominantly to secure a good future trade relationship with the reciprocating country. This was indeed the case with Philip and Mary, but instead of creating a positive correlation between their monarchies, the union was vastly unpopular with the people of England. This further contributed to the religious conflict leading up to the armada, as many of the public were opposed to the Catholic Mary and her marriage to Philip, believing it to be the catalyst for a Spanish conquer. This spurred anti-Catholicism, as people’s view on the religion became further dampened by the fear of Philip’s need for power. It is believed by many that this was a primary contributing factor to the English dislike of the Spanish, for example seen with this quote QUOTE , and their King. Mary’s extreme Catholic methods also contributed to the dislike her people had for her, and meant they disliked Philip also.

Into Elizabeth’s reign:

This dislike for Philip and Spain was...

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