Triumph of Elizabeth; Foreign Relations 1571-88

Notes from the AQA A2 textbook Chapter 7: Foreign Relations covering the Netherlands and England's foreign relations

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Rachel Jones 1
Chapter 7
Foreign Relations
The Netherlands and England's foreign relations
The fate of the Netherlands dominated Elizabeth's thinking brought about the deterioration in
AngloSpanish relations, culminating in fullscale war
Wernham: Elizabeth followed a consistent and ultimately successful policy towards the Netherlands
o Her policy was founded on fear of France as much as fear of Spain
o She wanted the Netherlands to maintain their status as a semiautonomous part of the Spanish Empire
Wilson: Elizabeth's policies were inconsistent and largely unsuccessful
o Fear of France was exaggerated, her desire for the maintenance of the autonomy of the Netherlands
was insincere and the failure of her policies led to divisions among the rebels in 1577 and the Anjou
intervention from 1581
MacCaffrey: Elizabeth was both more successful than Wilson claimed but less successful and consistent
than Wernham argued
o She was able to prevent the French from gaining control of the Netherlands
o In the short term, she was able to secure the removal of Spanish troops from the Netherlands in 1577
o Elizabeth lacked the power consistently to shape events reactionary
Elizabeth contributed significantly to the deterioration of AngloSpanish relations in 1572 by expelling the Sea
o Forced to land in the Dutch port of Brielle and their occupation of the port sparked off fullscale revolt
against the Duke of Alba's repressive policies and high taxation
o Seemed that there would be little success for the rebels confined to Holland and Zeeland
o Elizabeth refused to intervene offered to be mediator
o Offered covert help to the rebels allowing them to recruit English soldiers and disallowing soldiers to
join Alba's side as long as Spain kept a soft line towards the rebels it would be okay
Summer 1575: Spain launched a new military offensive
o Either: Spain would be completely successful
o OR: the rebels would secure support from the French which could harm Elizabeth in the long run
November 1576: `Spanish Fury' Spanish troops went on a murdering and plundering rampage in Antwerp
Rebels produced the Pacification of Ghent called for the expulsion of all foreign troops and the restoration
of the provinces' autonomy
o Rebels' demands coincided for once exactly with Elizabeth's policy aims
o With Spanish troops vacating the Netherlands, it looked for a while as if Elizabeth's foreign policy had
been triumphant
Triumph shortlived: Spanish troops returned the next year
o Intelligence: French might be about to aid the Spanish governor who had been in contact with Mary
Queen of Scots Elizabeth had to boost rebels' cause
o She promised the Dutch EstatesGeneral £100,000 as well as military support should the French try to
o Told Philip that she would aid the rebels if he did not accept the Pacification of Ghent and recall Don
She didn't support the rebels example of Wilson's inconsistency
Fearful of getting into a war with Spain
Distrustful of the rebels

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Rachel Jones 2
Chapter 7
Couldn't let either France or Spain rule the Netherlands
Compromise: hiring a mercenary army to fight on rebels' behalf
Rebels came divided negated policy that assumed they were united
Susan Doran: Elizabeth's policy was in `disarray'
o Elizabeth alienated the Spanish while having done nothing to help the Dutch or prevent Spanish/French
Since the Duke of Anjou was preparing to invade the Netherlands, a strategic marriage proposal was
Situation in the Netherlands got worse:
o 1580: Spanish had…read more

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Rachel Jones 3
Chapter 7
With the English present, the Dutch could not come to any peace agreement with the Spanish
Underhand deal with Parma Dutch felt abandoned
o Philip could exploit the divisions between England and the Netherlands affected Armada strategy
Fortunate that the Netherlands would still support her during the Armada
England and France
April 1572: Treaty of Blois significant improvement
St Bartholomew's Massacre thousands of Huguenots were murdered
o Strategic necessity caused by bad Spanish relations forced the English into good relations…read more

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Chapter 7
Suspicious so only agreed on the condition that Elizabeth and Anjou marry politically
o Elizabeth backed Anjou's expedition by herself he was offered sovereignty by the Estates General
Elizabeth had allowed her affection to cloud her judgement
Expedition was a disaster
Anjou attempted a coup d'état beginning with trying to take Antwerp by force
Anjou was driven out of the Netherlands
o Any further attempt to secure French help were nullified by the decline in Henry's power facing Philip…read more

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Chapter 7
The threat of invasion
1584: Relations worsened but war was still not inevitable
Treaties of Joinville and Nonsuch made war more likely both anxious to pull back from the brink
War more likely when Philip seized all English ships and goods in Spanish ports and Elizabeth's pursuit of
alliance with Fez perceived as a direct threat to Spanish territory
Elizabeth sending troops to the Netherlands challenged Philip's authority and increased the cost of suppressing
the revolt compounded with Drake's attacks…read more

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Rachel Jones 6
Chapter 7
Philip had convinced himself that he was doing God's work and despite the Pope's scepticism, that he was
engaged in a Catholic crusade…read more


Adam Longland

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