Battles involving England - Anglo-Spanish War

Speech by Elizabeth I at Tilbury

The Church of England had been founded by Henry VIII and had been made a Protestant church by his son, Edward VI. Later his daughter, Mary made England Catholic again, and married the Catholic king of Spain, Phillip II. Henry's second daughter, Elizabeth I was Protestant. (In fact, according to the rules of the Catholic Church, she was illegitimate and so should not be queen.) This made Phillip II the enemy of Elizabeth.

Phillip II supported Mary, Queen of Scots to become queen. Meanwhile, England was supporting the Protestants in the Netherlands against Spanish rule. English privateers were also attacking Spanish ships in the West Indies and the Atlantic.

Spanish Armada 1588 (location)

Phillip II decided to invade England. He organised a vast fleet, the Armada, from Spain, and an army in the Netherlands. When The Spanish fleet was seen in England, the news was sent to London by a set of hill-top beacons which were lit. The English fleet had more ships than the Spanish, but they were smaller and had less guns. The English fleet attacked the Spanish fleet on its way to pick up the Spanish army. There was no deep water habour for the Spanish fleet to wait for their army, and at night, the English sent ships on fire into the Armada, which broke up the formation of the Spanish fleet. The English carried on attacking them, and the weather turned bad. The Aramada had to sail into the North Sea, and right round Britain to get back to Spain.

The rest of the war was less successful for the English. Finally both countries had new monarchs. The Treaty of London, between Philip III of Spain and James I, brought the war to an end.

English ships and the Spanish Armada, English School, 16th century
English ships and the Spanish Armada, English School, 16th century



Speech by Elizabeth I visiting her troops at Tilbury, 1588

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

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