Admin moved page How did the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) change England? to How did the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) change England
[[File: Armada 2.jpg|390px|thumbnail|left|English fireships attacking Spanish vessels at the Battle of Grevellines]]
== Could Spain have taken England it had successfully landed its invasion force? ==
The Spanish Armada is one of the great ‘ifs’ in history. If the Spanish ships had been able to rendezvous with Flanders' army and transported it across the Channel, England may have been defeated. The Spanish army was considered the best in Europe at this time, and it was composed not only of Spanish but also German veterans. The English army was mainly composed of local militias and was poorly led and trained. In a set-piece battle, the Spanish forces would most likely have been victorious and deposed Elizabeth I on land. The kingdom of England would have become part of the Spanish Empire. Phillip II did not plan to rule it directly but planned to place a Catholic on the throne. Philip wanted an ally that would become dependent on Spain. The defeat of the Armada prevented this from happening and secured the independence of England. England's victory allowed her to become a major world power by the eighteenth century.<ref> Holmes, p. 257</ref>
== What impact did the defeat of the Spanish Armada have on Catholics in England? ==
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 by 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 re-established, this could have hobbled Protestantism in England.
By the 1580s, the Church of England was supported by most English people, and they would have resisted any attempt to reimpose the Catholic faith. Still, England would likely have suffered a series of Religious Wars similar to France in the sixteenth century. However, the Armada's failure meant that the Church of England was now more secure than ever before. Increasingly, the English people began to see themselves as Protestant people. They saw Protestantism as an integral part of Englishness and important for their freedom. Many English people became even more anti-Catholic after the Armada. ‘Popery’ as they referred to as Catholicism, was associated with autocracy, intolerance, and slavery. This anti-Catholicism was an important aspect of English political life for many years.<ref>Bridgen, Susan. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142001252/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0142001252&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=128a402be47987e0bd3742b14adafb3d New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485–1603]</i>. New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 2001), p. 115</ref>
On the other 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 Elizabeth's reign, 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. England's people began to see themselves in providential terms and 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 crucial in later decades and was an important factor in the growth of English power, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
== Did the defeat of the Spanish Armada turn England into a naval power? ==
Additionally, if the Spanish Armada had been a success, it is improbable that England would have successfully plant colonies in North America. In the early seventeenth century, English colonies were founded at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown. If the Spanish had placed one of their candidates on England's throne, this might never have occurred. The Armada's defeat saw England emerge as, if not a dominant naval power but an important one, and the principal colonizer of North America. Additionally, English trading companies such as the East India Company expanded across the globe.<ref>Holmes, p. 256</ref> England's naval capability directly led to the British Empire's growth and development.
== Conclusion ==
The defeat of the Armada was a major turning point in English history. It saved the throne of Elizabeth I and guaranteed English independence from Spain. The Spanish saw the invasion as a crusade and one that would stamp out the heresy of Protestantism in England. The failure of the invasion meant that Protestantism became more entrenched and less sympathetic to Catholicism. Indeed, in the aftermath of the Armada, Protestantism became part of the national identity. To be English was to be a Protestant and to reject Catholicism. The attempted Spanish invasion led to the adoption of an anti-Catholic discourse, known as Popery, and this was an important factor in English political life for over two centuries. The Armada did not end Spanish maritime supremacy, but it did lead to England becoming a formidable naval power. This allowed it to found colonies and trading companies in the early seventeenth century to lay the British Empire's foundation.
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