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The Spanish Armada Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

Due to the surviving letters from members aboard both English and Spanish ships involved in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, it is easily possible for Historians to piece together the information to find a recount of the events in August 1588.

Whilst re-suppling their 66 ships in Plymouth, the English fleet were caught by surprise by the Spanish Armada and were trapped due to an incoming tide. Although the Spanish 'council of war' proposed that the Spanish fleet ride into shore and attack the English from there, the commander of the fleet Medina Sidonia refused to do so due to orders from King Phillip II. Instead they sailed east, followed by the English fleet when the tide had ...view middle of the document...

The letter also confirms the knowledge of Phillip's plan for the Armada to meet up with the Duke of Parma and his fleet, and also the knowledge that the arrangement did not go through as planned as the Duke's fleet never arrived due to complications with communication and transport. The letter shows us what the English were seeing and experiencing at the time and is essentially informing thre Queen of the numbers, problems and losses. Bias can be expected but due to the writer's important role then we can assume that the information is true.

The Spanish Fleet set north on their way to Gravelines in Northern France in hopes that they would be able to meet up with the Duke of Parma and his soldiers, however they were unable to get near due to the lack of deep harbours near the mainland, so instead they anchored near Calais, France. The English fleet had followed the Armada, and at midnight on the 28th of July 1588, Drake set alight eight of his own regular warships and sent them into the harbour in which the Spanish fleet was anchored, catching the Spanish by surprise. Many of the ships fled in fear of catching on fire, thus breaking the clever crescent formation of the Spanish fleet. At dawn the next day the English fleet attacked the Armada, damaging the ships by broadsides and musketfire, until they ran out of ammunition and were forced to pull back. The attack made on the 29th of July 1588 is known as the 'Naval battle of Gravelines' and resulted in the loss of five Spanish ships and the severe damage to many other Spanish ships.

Still aware of the possible invasion of the Spanish by foot, a infantry of 4,000 was placed at West Tilbury to ensure there was a defence against the Spainards if necessary. On the 9th of August 1588 Queen Elizabeth II...

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