Relations with Spain

  • Created by: cieran32
  • Created on: 09-11-18 13:58

Reasons for Poor relations with Spain

Spain was a strong country. Spain took control of Lisbon in 1581 and Philip became King of Portugal. Spain also had a strong position in the Americas. Growing tension between England and Spain during Elizabeth’s reign eventually led to war.

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Phillip II

  • Philip II of Spain had been married to Mary I, Elizabeth I’s sister. This had made him the joint monarch of England.
  • But Mary’s death in 1558 without a child prevented a unification of England and Spain under a Catholic monarch.
  • Although Philip proposed to Elizabeth I the year later, she never married him (or anyone).
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Spain had remained Catholic throughout the years of the Reformation.

  • Elizabeth I’s excommunication by the pope in 1570 also highlighted clear religious differences between the countries.
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Conflict in the Netherlands

  • Philip II of Spain ruled the Netherlands. In 1581, Elizabeth I supported Protestant rebels financially, who created an independent Dutch state in the Netherlands.
  • In 1585, she gave even more support, signing the Treaty of Nonsuch. This gave military support to the Dutch rebels and promised that England would protect them.
  • Elizabeth I signed the treaty because England relied on Dutch ports for trade, Elizabeth I wanted to support Protestants and Spain was growing very powerful.
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Robert Dudley

  • In December 1585, Robert Dudley led English forces in the Netherlands after William of Orange's death.
  • He led 7,000 troops and became "Governor-General" provoking Philip because an Englishman had accepted a title implying he ruled the Netherlands.
  • Dudley (the Earl of Leicester) used bad strategies with a badly-equipped, under-funded army. He resigned in 1587 after many military defeats. The war in the Netherlands was lost
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English privateers

  • English privateers like Sir Francis Drake traded with Spain’s American colonies. These privateers raided Spanish boats and stole their treasure.
  • Although they were not officially British, some of the privateers’ loot went to Elizabeth I. The treasure received from Sir Francis Drake in 1580 was enormous
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Naval Warfare with Spain

Henry VIII had built up a navy of fighting vessels to protect England. This growth continued under Elizabeth I and John Hawkins, her naval commander. Philip II tried to keep up. He thought that the Treaty of Nonsuch was England's declaration of war

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The raid on cadiz

  • At sea, Sir Francis Drake and others raided Spanish ports and ships, including at Cadiz in 1587. This was supported by Elizabeth I who suspected that Philip was preparing for war.
  • He destroyed 25-35 Spanish ships during this incident and harmed their building of their Armada, which was happening down the coast in Lisbon.
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the raid on Cadiz cont

  • Wood for food storage on the Armada was damaged in the raid. This meant that food and water couldn't be stored well on the journey to England. Lots of food rotted en route.
  • The raid on Cadiz became known as the ‘singeing of the King of Spain’s beard’. It delayed the Armada by more than 12 months.
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line of battle

  • During navy battles, a tactic called ‘line of battle’ was used. Ships, in a single line formation, fired together on the enemy. Surprise raids were also a common tactic.
  • ‘Fireships’ were used, where an old ship was set ablaze and sent into the middle of the enemy. These tactics caused great panic.
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new technology

  • New technologies, such as lateen sails, allowed speed and agility, and more precise performance in battles and raids. More powerful cannons allowed more accurate fire at longer ranges.
  • Elizabeth I encouraged the sailors because she wanted the treasures they had stolen to enrich England.
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bad spanish tactics

  • Spain's navy tried to board enemy ships and fight man to man.
  • English ships could simply stay out of range, stopping Spanish troops boarding. Then, they could fire cannonballs (broadsides) to sink Spanish ships.
  • Spain's sailors were also generally less experienced in warfare at sea (naval warfare) than the English sailors.
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The Spanish Armada, 1588

In 1588, Philip II launched 151 ships, 7,000 sailors, and 34,000 soldiers, to invade England via the Netherlands. England had interfered in the Spanish Netherlands and the plan was to collect troops from Flanders before invading England.

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  • A combination of English tactics, Spanish mistakes, and the weather contributed to Spain’s defeat. The result was a significant victory for Elizabeth and proved British naval might.
  • Philip II planned a second attempt but never launched the mission.
  • The defeat of the Armada brought England together, and more Catholics pledged loyalty to the queen. The victory strengthened the sense that England was living through a ‘golden age’.
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6th August

  • The Spanish fleet was anchored on the Dutch coast for several days, waiting for more soldiers from the Duke of Parma.
  • They were not in a protected deep water port and they could not anchor very safely.
  • Sir Francis Drake commanded English sailors to strike. He sent eight fireships (burning ships) the next morning into the Spanish fleet.
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8th August: The Battle of Gravelines

  • Firing from 100 metres away, the English damaged many Spanish ships. The Duke of Medina-Sidonia, commander of the Spanish fleet, turned his ships around to head for home. Only 65 ships made it back.
  • This attack coincided with a storm, which blew the Armada off course and allowed the English ships to pursue them. Many ships were wrecked off the coast of Scotland and Ireland.
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  • The Armada was led by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who had little experience in the navy.
  • The Armada left Spain/Portugal in May, but bad weather meant that they did not reach the English Channel until July.
  • The Spanish fleet reached Cornwall in July. Beacons were lit all along the coast, sending news of the arrival to London.
  • Philip had filled his ships with land weapons for the battles to come.
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