The Invincible Armada and Elizabethan England

The Invincible Armada and Elizabethan England

The Invincible Armada and Elizabethan England

The Invincible Armada and Elizabethan England

Excerpt

Probably no event in England's military history, not even the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo, not even the battle of Hastings, has been so much written about, celebrated, and commented upon as the repulse of the Spanish Armada by English naval forces after nine days of dubious battle from the Eddystone to Gravelines in the summer of 1588. The repulse foiled decisively, as it turned out, the Spanish plan to invade England with the Duke of Parma's army of the Netherlands, covered and supported by a Spanish fleet, and reinforced by the troop transports and supply ships it convoyed. At first the significance of the repulse was by no means clear. As it became clearer, the chroniclers of both combatants tended to magnify, oversimplify, and distort the event. English writers, pamphleteers, and historians hailed the victory, first as a sign of God's favor to the champions of the Protestant cause, later as evidence of the manifest destiny of an imperial people. At the same time Spanish intellectuals, in the mood of bitter self- criticism which began before the death of Philip II and continued most of the time for more than three centuries, brooded over the defeat as the first warning of the corruption eating away the core of their mighty empire. Spaniards could never believe that they could be defeated by a mere lack of material resources; only by some inner betrayal, some failure of heart or nerve, could they be brought down.

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