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The Spanish Armada 1588

September 9, 2016

The Spanish Armada comprised fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruña in August 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Tudor establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.

 

 

 

 

 

The Armada chose not to attack the English fleet at Plymouth, then failed to establish a temporary anchorage in the Solent, after one Spanish ship had been captured by Francis Drake in the English Channel. The Armada finally dropped anchor off Calais. While awaiting communications from the Duke of Parma's army the Armada was scattered by an English fireship attack. In the ensuing Battle of Gravelines the Spanish fleet was damaged and forced to abandon its rendezvous with Parma's army, who were blockaded in harbour by Dutch flyboats. The Armada managed to regroup and, driven by southwest winds, withdrew north, with the English fleet harrying it up the east coast of England. The commander ordered a return to Spain, but the Armada was disrupted during severe storms in the North Atlantic and a large number of the vessels were wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Of the initial 130 ships over a third failed to return.

 

The port of A Coruna (Lacoruna) is a small town on the north west coast of Spain. As well as being notable for the departure point of the Armada it has a long history. The Romans inhabited the area and they left behind a 1st century tower (see my photo), which was used as a lookout (an early lighthouse). Today it has a fishing fleet and lots of historic buildings. 

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