Spanish Armada Prisoners: The Story of the Nuestra Seanora del Rosario and Her Crew, and of Other Prisoners in England, 1587-97

Spanish Armada Prisoners: The Story of the Nuestra Seanora del Rosario and Her Crew, and of Other Prisoners in England, 1587-97

Spanish Armada Prisoners: The Story of the Nuestra Seanora del Rosario and Her Crew, and of Other Prisoners in England, 1587-97

Spanish Armada Prisoners: The Story of the Nuestra Seanora del Rosario and Her Crew, and of Other Prisoners in England, 1587-97

Excerpt

This topic was suggested to me by Professor Geoffrey Parker, then of St Andrews University and now of the University of Illinois. What began as a straightforward analysis of the inventory made by the English after Sir Francis Drake's capture of the Rosario led me into a study which became much broader than either of us had anticipated: a study encompassing the subsequent fate of the ship and her contents; the four and a half years spent in England by her commander, Don Pedro de Valdés, before he was ransomed; and the experiences of the other Armada prisoners in England. To the published sources, mainly in Duro, Herrera Oria, Laughton and the various Calendars of State Papers, I have added other material from the Public Record Office, and a number of Spanish documents, kindly provided by Geoffrey Parker in the form of notes, xeroxes and microfilm.

Wider historical perspectives have been touched on only where they relate to the Rosario and the Spanish prisoners. For a recent study of the Armada campaign as a whole see Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker, The Spanish Armada (1988).

I have included a large number of direct quotations (with modernised punctuation and spelling) because I find Elizabethan English subtle, succinct, and expressive. It is, moreover, very easy to misrepresent in precis.

Ducats, escudos, scudi, crowns, pistolets and gold coins all mean the same. There were roughly four to £1. The Castillian libra was roughly equivalent to an English pound, and therefore the quintal to 100 lbs (a hundredweight: the modern hundredweight of 112 pounds includes an allowance for the container).

All dates are New Style.

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