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How was the Spanish Armada defeated in 1588?

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kat-attaque | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 2, 2008 at 9:00 AM via web

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How was the Spanish Armada defeated in 1588?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 2, 2008 at 9:36 AM (Answer #1)

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Queen Elizabeth I would probably have said it was the will of God that the powerful Spanish Armada was defeated. However, the more likely causes of Spain's defeat were poor leadership and bad weather.

Philip II of Spain placed his armada under the control of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, who had very little experience commanding ships and who was not totally in favor of the invasion of England. But he was Philip's choice, so he had no choice but to obey.

The weather was against the Spanish as well. The wind and the rain were rough, and the English had the advantage of sailing into the wind, while the Spaniards sailed against it. Even though the English navy was tiny in comparison to the number of Spanish ships, the danger of trying to avoid English fire ships while fighting the winds was too much. So the Spanish Armada retreated into an even more dangerous threat: the Scottish coastline. Many ships wrecked, and sailors died.

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 2, 2008 at 3:30 PM (Answer #2)

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While both the factors of poor leadership and weather contributed to the defeat of the Spanish Armada, there was another factor as well.  The ships of the Spanish Navy were large and slow, and their tactics were hundreds of years old.  The Spanish ships, like those of the Greeks and Romans, were mainly designed to ram into enemy ships so Spanish fighters could board and take them.  The English, however, had lighter and faster ships that were armed with cannon.  These ships could not be caught by the Spanish ships and the large, slow Spanish ships could not evade the English guns.  The result was not only did the Spanish lose the battle, but they lost their naval superiority as well, not only to the English, but to the Dutch as well.

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amymayor | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 5, 2009 at 3:44 AM (Answer #3)

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my gosh! i have to write an essay on this! basically the main reasons are religious differences, marriage, and piracy. it was an expensive faliour for the spanish but the english had victory (yey)

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do-right | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 25, 2010 at 1:35 AM (Answer #5)

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Here is link of this contains some other useful links about the Spanish Armada :

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revolution | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted March 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM (Answer #6)

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The Spanish Armada was the powerful Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia in its fight to overthrow the Elizabeth I of England. This was like some sort of crusade, or a personal vengeance make by Phillip II of Spain as she had  imprisoned his wife, Mary I and later have her executed so that his ambitions were thwarted.

But the failure of the military assault was due to many different factors intertwined together. First, Phillip II, despite being diligent and hardworking as a monarch, had filled for bankruptcy on several occasions and plunged his country into millions of debt, due to the fact that he had military obligations in the Continent. It also was caused by chronic corruption and the financial mis-management of the Crown. It were also too heavily reliant on silver shipments, which caused the country to be pushed into hyper-inflation, and the failure to diversify its commerce, pushed its economy into greater despair.

Also, the Duke have little experience and little faith in the enterprise , and was not suitable for naval warfare, in controlling the ships in the sea to fight England's naval fleet, and was against the idea of an invasion of England territory.

The weather proved to be another devastating element in the course of the war. It was terribly dreadful, very harsh indeed, with the wind and the rain against the Spanish fleet, and they were unable to compete against the powerful and superior ships and naval tactics used in the war. The Queen of England thought that the success of war was actually due to luck showered upon them, and not because of their might, as they thought that the unfortunate stone besieged upon them was not a ordinary one, but actually was the work of the Protestant God in his grace. Many of the Spanish naval force were wrecked terribly and the Spanish have lost a decisive battle, and England was the ultimate victor.

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lilbud77 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 21, 2013 at 6:38 AM (Answer #7)

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The Spanish Armada was the powerful Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia in its fight to overthrow the Elizabeth I of England. This was like some sort of crusade, or a personal vengeance make by Phillip II of Spain as she had  imprisoned his wife, Mary I and later have her executed so that his ambitions were thwarted.

But the failure of the military assault was due to many different factors intertwined together. First, Phillip II, despite being diligent and hardworking as a monarch, had filled for bankruptcy on several occasions and plunged his country into millions of debt, due to the fact that he had military obligations in the Continent. It also was caused by chronic corruption and the financial mis-management of the Crown. It were also too heavily reliant on silver shipments, which caused the country to be pushed into hyper-inflation, and the failure to diversify its commerce, pushed its economy into greater despair.

Also, the Duke have little experience and little faith in the enterprise , and was not suitable for naval warfare, in controlling the ships in the sea to fight England's naval fleet, and was against the idea of an invasion of England territory.

The weather proved to be another devastating element in the course of the war. It was terribly dreadful, very harsh indeed, with the wind and the rain against the Spanish fleet, and they were unable to compete against the powerful and superior ships and naval tactics used in the war. The Queen of England thought that the success of war was actually due to luck showered upon them, and not because of their might, as they thought that the unfortunate stone besieged upon them was not a ordinary one, but actually was the work of the Protestant God in his grace. Many of the Spanish naval force were wrecked terribly and the Spanish have lost a decisive battle, and England was the ultimate victor.


Umm, you've got your "Mary's" mixed up. Phillip II of Spain was married to Mary Tudor (Queen Mary of England), not Queen Mary of Scot. Queen Mary of England had to die before her younger sister, Elizabeth became queen. Mary Tudor died of natural causes. Queen Elizabeth imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots....not her big sister. Mary of Scotts was never married to Phillip if Spain. Mary of Scots was executed for her plans to have Elizabeth assassinated so that she could take over England. She would have never been arrested has she not stepped foot on England soil, but once she did she was under English laws, therefore could be arrested, imprisoned, and eventually executed for the plans written in her own hand. But no......Mary of Scots was NEVER Phillip's wife.

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