Elizabeth  I retaliated by supporting a Dutch revolt against Spain and funding attacks on Spanish ships.Though neither country officially declared war, this intermittent conflict between England and Spain began in 1585 with the former’s expedition to the Netherlands to support the Dutch revolt and continued for nearly two decades.The British sent eight fire ships toward the Armada, causing the Spaniards to worry about their wooden vessels. 

The Battle of Gravelines was an important event in the English defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.Moored in Calais awaiting the arrival of Spanish troops led by the Duke of Palma, the Spanish Armada was first attacked on 6 August 1588 by unmanned English fire-ships which were set alight and sailed towards the Spanish fleet. Drake had used this tactic successfully in his raid on Cadiz and the effect at Calais was similar - creating panic and fear amongst the Spanish.Whilst the fire-ships didn't significantly damage the Spanish ships, the effect was to break-up the Armada's battle formation as ships took avoiding action and cut their anchors to move out of the way.The following day saw a prolonged battle with the English fleet, which had the advantage of lighter, better-armed ships, able to fire on the Spanish Armada without having to get too close. An eight-hour battle raged in poor weather conditions until ammunition was exhausted.Wind was another problem for the Spanish fleet. The wind was driving them towards shallow water, increasing the risk that the entire fleet could have been grounded. Then the wind changed, and the Spanish were able to escape to the north-east. However, this trapped them in the North Sea, and forced them to return to Spain by sailing around the north coast of Scotland and then down the west coast of Ireland - a perilous journey in which the fleet suffered the loss of many ships and men.If the Spanish won the invasion, they expected to end the interference of England in Spanish Netherlands. They also wanted to stop the English and Dutch privateering which damaged the interest of Spain.The battle between the Spanish armada and English was fierce. The Spanish could not make a temporary anchorage in Solent because Francis Drake captured one of their ships in English Channel. When the Spanish armada encountered English Fleet at Plymouth, they did not initiate an attack.The English fireship attack was very successful to make the Spanish armada scattered. Dutch flyboats blockaded the Parma’s army. Therefore, the Spanish fleet could not meet Duke of Parma’s army after they lose in the battle of Gravelines.Philip II of Spain was the husband of Mary I. Until 1558, he became the co-monarch of England. It ended after the death of his wife.Elizabeth I was the sister in law of Philip II of Spain. She was a protestant, while his bother in law, Philip II of Spain was a devout Roman catholic.The Spanish Armada campaign of 1588 changed the course of European history. If the Duke of Parma’s 27,000 strong invasion force had safely crossed the narrow seas from Flanders, the survival of Elizabeth I’s government and Protestant England would have looked doubtful indeed. If those battle-hardened Spanish troops had landed, as planned, near Margate on the Kent coast, it is likely that they would have been in the poorly defended streets of London within a week and the queen and her ministers captured or killed. England would have reverted to the Catholic faith and there may have not been a British Empire to come.It was bad luck, bad tactics and bad weather that defeated the Spanish Armada.But it was a near run thing.Only six Spanish ships out of the 129 that sailed against England were destroyed as a direct result of naval combat. A minimum of fifty Armada ships (probably as many as sixty-four) were lost through accident or during the Atlantic storms that scattered the fleet en route to England and as it limped, badly battered, back to northern Spain. More than 13,500 sailors and soldiers did not come home  the vast majority victims not of English cannon fire, but of lack of food and water, virulent disease and incompetent organisation.Thirty years before, when Philip II of Spain had been such an unenthusiastic husband to Mary I, he had observed: The kingdom of England is and must always remain strong at sea, since upon this the safety of the realm depends.Decades of neglect had rendered most of England’s land defenses almost useless against an experienced and determined enemy. In March 1587, the counties along the English Channel had just six cannon each.The defeat of Spanish Armada: At this point, the English ships were more in number than the Spanish ships while the Spanish ships had more gun power. The Spanish Armada had set out late into the sea than expected to owe to the bad weather conditions.After the battle, many men died of dysentery, typhus, and hunger. These soldiers were not even given their pay for their contribution to the Defeat of Spanish Armada.The victory of England over Spain is a very famous event in English history since England was successful in defeating a powerful country like Spain. Sir Francis Drake was regarded as a hero for his role in the Spanish Armada. In Spain, he was looked upon as a pirate.It can be said that one of the major drawbacks for the defeat of the Armada was the lack of organization of the Armada. In fact, many of the merchant ships were converted into naval ships. Some reasons that can be said helped the English win was that they made good use of small and fast ships, their strategy of sinking the Spanish ships was well executed.

The August 8th battle of Gravelines was so fierce that both sides effectively exhausted their ammunition. For much of the battle, like much of the entire campaign, the Spanish were fighting both the British and the wind (which appeared to be pushing Spanish ships into the shoals.Then, the wind shifted. Philip's ships  were able to escape into the North Sea. Although battered, the Armada was effectively undefeated. Bloodied, the Spaniards were unbowed. 

How England's  Queen Elizabeth I and  Spanish King Philip  II went from allies to enemies.When Elizabeth became Queen in 1558 on the death of her half-sister Mary, England had a decent relationship with Spain. Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain obviously helped to cement this even if the marriage itself was not a success. There were those in the Privy Council and Parliament who believed that Elizabeth would marry Philip herself to ensure that both nations stayed close. However, this was not to be and during the first ten years of Elizabeth’s reign a drift occurred between England and Spain. Historians do not believe that this was a deliberate policy by either nation – it simply happened. Religion was not the cause of this as Philip made it clear that he wanted Elizabeth on the throne of England as opposed to Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) who would have been pro-France, the result of her marriage to Francis II, king of France. Even though Francis died young and Mary returned to her native Scotland, she was still held in high regard in Paris and she, herself, was pro-France. The last thing that Philip wanted was a pro-French English monarch. On two occasions he used his influence to pressurise the Pope into excommunicating Mary. While Elizabeth was a heretic in the eyes of Spain, a good relationship with England ensured that the French felt sufficiently surrounded by two enemies – enough to put her off of any expansionist policy.Regardless of this, a separation between Spain and England did occur. It may have been the result of Elizabeth’s failure to marry Philip. Philip may have got the idea that Elizabeth would marry him as a matter of course. When this did not occur, Philip may have let his personal feelings influence his policy decisions. However, there is no proof of this.Two areas of major contention between both states were the Netherlands and the activities of English sea dogs in Spanish waters.The Revolt in the Netherlands did a great deal to undermine the relations London had with Madrid. On the accession of Elizabeth in 1558, many Protestants who had fled England returned, primarily to London and East Anglia. These men were radicalised as a result of having to flee Mary’s attack on Protestants and their initial impact on regional society on their return was marked. Therefore there was a great deal of sympathy for the Protestant rebels in the Netherlands. 50,000 Spanish troops were based just a few hours sailing from the Kent coastline and many viewed this as more than just a threat. Cecil, in particular, was highly concerned about a threat that England would not be able to repulse.Ironically, the position of the rebels put Elizabeth in a difficult position. If she was seen to be supporting those who had rebelled against their monarch, would she somehow encourage rebels in her own kingdom? However, she was also more than aware that Alva was a major threat to England. Therefore, Elizabeth allowed the ‘Sea Beggars’ to use English harbours and she gave her agreement for mariners like Hawkins and Drake to make inroads into markets overseas that had traditionally been Spanish trade routes.In 1568 a major incident occurred that effectively meant that Spain and England would never come to terms while Elizabeth was on the throne. Whereas the decline in relations had been ongoing slowly from 1558 to 1568, it dropped markedly in 1568. In this year, the English seized some Spanish bullion ships that had been blown into English waters. These ships had gold on board that was to be used to pay for Alva’s army in the Netherlands. The Spanish responded by seizing English merchant ships that were docked in Antwerp Spain was the global superpower of the day in 1586, the year that Spain began making preparations to invade England. But Philip knew an invasion would nonetheless be extremely difficult – not least because of the strength of the English naval fleet which he had helped to build up while his deceased wife, Mary, had been on the English throne. And he wasn’t nicknamed “Philip the Prudent” for nothing.These factors, combined with an English raid that destroyed 30 Spanish ships at the port of Cadiz in April 1587, meant that it would be more than two years before the Armada would set sail for England.Sixtus V saw the invasion of Protestant England as a crusade and allowed Philip to collect crusade taxes to fund the expedition.The real threat came from Spain’s firepower, which was 50 per cent more than England’s.This unexpected decision taken by the Spanish admiral, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, left the Armada open to an attack by English ships.In the clash that ensued, known as the Battle of Gravelines, the Spanish fleet was dispersed. The Armada was able to regroup in the North Sea but strong south-westerly winds prevented it from returning to the Channel and English ships then chased it up the east coast of England.This left the Spanish ships with no alternative but to journey home via the top of Scotland and down past the west coast of Ireland   a risky route.

In 1588, King Philip II of Spain sent an armada (a fleet of ships) to collect his army from the Netherlands, where they were fighting, and take them to invade England. This was done in the name of religion, because England had become Protestant and no longer accepted the Pope as the head of the Church; Spain was Catholic and the Pope had encouraged Philip to try to make England become Catholic again. He also had a political reason to go to war with England because Spain ruled the Netherlands, but the people there were rebelling against Spanish control and England had been helping them.

The Strait of Dover was the scene of several historic naval battles, notably the first major repulse by the English of the Spanish Armada . During World War I, Boulogne was a major army base, and Dover was the headquarters for the “Dover patrol,” which protected shipping in the strait.The Strait of Dover is one of the busiest straits in the world, as most ships traveling between the Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and Baltic Sea prefer to travel through the Strait of Dover over the more dangerous and circuitous north of Scotland route. On a given day, more than 400 commercial vessels pass through the Strait of Dover, which has heightened the need for maritime traffic regulations. The strait is patrolled and monitored by the Maritime Gendarmerie (France) and HM Coastguard (UK) on a 24-hour basis.The Strait of Dover, also referred to as Dover Strait, is a strait that forms the narrowest part of the larger English Channel. Formerly known as the Dover Narrows, the strait forms the boundary between the English Channel and the North Sea, as well as separating Great Britain from continental Europe. The strait has a width of 20.7 miles at its narrowest point and an average depth of approximately 150 feet. The narrowest point of the Strait of Dover, which is located between South Foreland, England and Cap Gris Nez, France, is a popular destination for cross-channel swimmers. The strait falls within the territorial waters of the United Kingdom (UK) and France, but its use for shipping by other countries is specified under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). On a day with no clouds in the sky, it is possible to see from one side of the strait to the other. The Strait of Dover has been the site of numerous naval battles, including the unsuccessful invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588.According to geologists, the Strait of Dover was formed through the erosion of a land bridge, known as Doggerland, between Great Britain and France. This erosion is linked to two significant floods, the first of which occurred about 425,000 years ago when overflow from a lake in the southern part of the North Sea eroded the chalk range of Weald-Artois. This created a gap that allowed the Scheldt and Thames rivers to flow into the English Channel. The Meuse and the Rhine rivers then began to flow into the English Channel roughly 225,000 years ago, when the second flood occurred. This second flood was caused by the overflow of water from an ice dam of the two rivers. Ultimately, the raised water levels eventually covered and eroded Doggerland, forming the Strait of Dover.In the calmer parts of the Strait of Dover, the water is relatively clear, which enables the growth of algae despite the fact that the water has a depth of 151 feet. The Strait of Dover's location along the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea produces a unique ecosystem. This includes endemic marine species, such as maerl, which primarily exist in the area west of Boulogne-sur-Mer. A portion of the strait, which has an area of about 263 sq mi, has been designated by the European Union as a Natura 2000 protection zone. This zone includes parts of Ridens de Boulogne, Vergoyer and Bassurelle, the Lobourg channel, Varne, and Colbart.The Spanish Armada was sent during the reign of Spain’s Roman Catholic king Philip II to help in overthrowing England’s Protestant queen Elizabeth I. Philip had previously supported plots to overthrow Elizabeth in favour of her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. In response Elizabeth imprisoned and finally executed Mary in 1587. Also Spain’s control over Spanish Netherlands, which consisted of modern Holland and Belgium, was being challenged as England aided the Dutch Protestants in their revolt against Spain.Alexander Farnese, the Duke of Parma and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, had prepared a force of 30,000 troops to invade England. He wanted to carry out the invasion without naval protection but Philip II overruled him and started preparing the Spanish Armada. The plan was that Spanish fleet would defeat or deter the English fleet and clear the Strait of Dover for Parma’s invasion force to cross from Flanders over to south eastern England.The Spanish Armada was supposed to be led by the highly experienced Alvaro de Bazan, Marquis of Santa Cruz. However he died in February 1588, a few months before the Armada set sail. The responsibility was then given to the Don Alonso, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia, who had no naval experience. Medina Sidonia wrote to Philip II and expressed doubts about the success of the Armada but fear prevented the courtiers from showing the letter to the King.The Spanish Armada consisted of around 130 ships, 8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers. It bore around 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns. About 40 of the 130 ships were line-of-battle ships, the rest being mostly transports and light craft. The English fleet to counter the Armada consisted of 200 ships though during most of the fighting it was roughly the same size as the Spanish fleet. The Armada had around 50% more firepower available than the English fleet.The Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon on 28 May 1588. After a few skirmishes with the English fleet, the Armada reached the port of Gravelines on July 27. The news reached Parma the same day but he required six days to get his troops in the invasion craft. However the Armada had no safe port to wait for him and to get to the Armada, Parma’s Army of Flanders would have to cross a zone dominated by the Dutch navy, which was supporting the English. This was a massive defect in the Spanish plan.

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