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Elizabeth, I had encouraged English privateers, such as Sir Francis Drake to mount attacks on Spanish targets. Elizabeth sought to limit the power of Spain and to secure some of the riches ‘of the America colonies for her subjects.’<ref> Holmes, Richard. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0198662092/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0198662092&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=94311aba3c2131eec83402c57e9f3338 The Oxford Companion to Military History]</i> (Oxford, Oxford University Press. 2001), p. 214</ref> The English Queen also supported the Dutch in their revolt against Phillip II. Relations between Spain and England deteriorated rapidly and by the mid-1580s the two countries were in an undeclared war. A war that was to last until the end of Elizabeth’s reign. Spain was the richest and the most powerful Empire in Europe and Phillip decided that he would invade England. He believed that if he was successful it would help him to secure many of his strategic objectives in Europe. The Spanish presented the Armada as a Catholic crusade and it was partially funded by the Papacy.
The Spanish Armada====
[[File: Armada 4.jpg|350px|thumbnail|left| A contemporary painting of the Armada]]
The launch of the Armada had been delayed several times, including once because of a raid by the English on Cadiz. The Spanish Armada was a fleet of 130 ships and it first left the port of Coruna in August 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, the most powerful noble in Spain.<ref> Holmes, p. 215</ref> The fleet was ordered to sail to the English Channel and transport a large army in Flanders into England. The aim of the invasion was to depose Elizabeth I and to reimpose Catholicism on the English people. The fleet was an impressive and the Spanish were experienced, sailors and navigators. However, the commander Medina-Sidonia was old and relatively inexperienced and he committed mistake after mistake throughout the campaign.
The Spanish fleet despite its numerical advantage did not attack the English fleet based at Portsmouth and instead sailed to Calais. The Spanish army under the Duke of Parma was advancing to Calais to be transported to England. However, the English navy under Drake and Howard attacked the Armada with fireships, and this was the start of what became known as the Battle of Grave lines. The English tactic of using fire-ships, created panic among the Spaniards and the fleet was broken up into small groups of ships. The battle lasted over a week with both sides launching attacks. However, Medina-Sidonia decided to withdraw. This decision was decisive as it meant that the Spanish army was unable to rendezvous with the invasion army. Drake and the other English commanders were happy to let the Armada sail away from the invasion force. Then a strong wind from the southwest forced the fleet to sail to the north and into the North Sea.
Medina-Sidonia tried to regroup his ships and withdraw to Spain. This ended Spain's attempt to invade England was over, but it did not end the Armada's problems. At this point, the Armada sought only to survive and return to Spain. Unfortunately, inclement weather and a strong south-western wind meant that the Spanish could not return via the English Channel. This wind later became known in England as a ‘Protestant Wind.’<ref>McDermott, James. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/030010698X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=030010698X&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=f473dc1cecf6852131ce8bd6e86de229 England and the Spanish Armada: The Necessary Quarrel]</i>. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), P. 215</ref>
The Spanish Command, which could not communicate with Madrid decided to round the British Isles. The Armada sailed around Scotland but the English navy continued to harry the Spanish fleet. The weather was very unseasonable for that time of year and the Phillip's fleet was battered by strong gales and massive storms. As the Armada made their way around Scotland they began to lose ships. Many more ships were wrecked on the west coast of Ireland and the survivors were hunted down and killed by natives loyal to the English crown.<ref>T. P. Kilfeather. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013K2KD6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0013K2KD6&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=a486270d446af7bb1840eb37dd11d649 Ireland: Graveyard of the Spanish Armada]</i> (Anvil Books, 1967), p. 167</ref> By the time that the remnants of the Spanish invasion fleet made it to Spain over two-thirds of the original Armada was lost. While the defeat of the Spanish
Aramade did not end the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War which would continue until 1604, it made if difficult for Spain to to get the upper hand. Eventually, the conflict ended in a stalemate.
The Armada and Religion====
Phillip II wanted to return England to Catholicism. If the Armada had been successful then it seems likely that a Catholic king or queen would have been placed on the throne. They would have had the power to overturn the Protestant establishment in the country. No longer would the Church of England be the state church and once again the Catholic Church would have been the only recognized religion. Phillip II believed that it was right for a monarch to ensure religious conformity in their kingdom. The new Catholic monarch probably would have persecuted Protestants in much the same way as Mary I had during her reign. With Catholicism reestablished this could have hobbled Protestantism in England.
On the hand, English Catholics faced an increasingly difficult life in England after the Armada's destruction. Catholics, known as ‘recusants,’ refused to recognize the Church of England. They came under official and unofficial pressure to conform to the state religion and give up their faith.<ref> Bridgen, p. 234</ref> Even loyal English Catholics became suspect and as a result, more and Catholics converted to Protestantism. By the end of the reign of Elizabeth, England was a Protestant nation, with only a small oppressed Catholic minority. The Armada had played an important role in this process. Phillip II had attempted to overturn the religious settlement in England but his attempted invasion only strengthened it. The people of England began to see themselves in providential terms and in biblical terms as an ‘elect nation.’ <ref>Krishan Kumar. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521777364/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0521777364&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=40a0da3a27c0edae7a7be1c813dd2ca4 The Making of English national identity]</i> (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 45</ref> The English began to believe that they were chosen by God to carry out his will. This sense of mission was one that was very important in later decades and was an important factor in the growth of English power, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
as a naval power====
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