How the Invincible Armada died
In the XVI century, the Europeans were able to make a breakthrough beyond the Old World. The era of the so-called. "Great geographical discoveries." Western predators reached America, circled Africa and “discovered” India, China and other countries in South and Southeast Asia. Began the division of the world. The Europeans "discovered" new lands (most often they were known, but before that the paws of European murderers and marauders could not reach them), seized, plundered and enslaved. Millions, tens of millions of people all over the planet became their victims. Whole civilizations and cultures died, ancient states fell and were plundered, previously powerful nationalities and tribes were destroyed and turned into slaves.
The leading role in the predatory colonization at that time belonged to Spain and Portugal, who even divided the world between themselves (with the blessing of the pope). Relentless conquistadors destroyed entire states, Spanish ships dominated the oceans and brought gold, silver, precious stones, etc. to the metropolis. After the young Portuguese king Sebastian I laid his head in North Africa in 1578 - the battle of El Ksar- El Kébire, and with it, and most of the Portuguese army died, Portugal was in deep crisis. The king left no heir, the dynastic crisis began and the war for the throne. Spanish king Philip II in 1580, using military force, achieved recognition of his rights to the Portuguese throne (maternal grandfather was the king of Portugal Manuel I, and grandmother Maria of Aragon, so he had the formal right to claim the throne). In 1581, Philip II arrived in Lisbon and was crowned King of Portugal by Philip I. The period of the Iberian Union, the personal union of the crowns of Spain and Portugal in 1580 — 1640, began. As the king of Portugal, Philip received his overseas possessions: Brazil and ports in Africa and Asia. Also during his reign, Spain established control over the Philippines and a number of other islands in the Pacific (the Philippines were named after King Philip II.) After examining the winds and currents of the Pacific, the Spaniards established a regular trade route between Acapulco and Manila.
Map of the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the period of the union
The Spanish Empire has reached the peak of its power. Gold, silver, spices, fabrics came in an endless stream to the Iberian Peninsula. Wealth led to a cultural upsurge - the so-called. The Golden Age of Spain. But, apparently, it was this gold and silver stream that stopped the development of the country. The Spanish elite decayed and enriched, forgetting about development. Huge profits were spent on luxury and the restoration of the domination of the Catholic Church in Europe (the Counter-Reformation) and the Habsburg domination in European politics. At the same time, the most powerful Western power remained largely agrarian, the old feudal system continued to operate in the country, intolerable Catholicism was the leading ideology. The Catholic Church and the Inquisition were closely associated with the state apparatus and carried out bloody repressions against the Moors, the Morisks (the Moors who converted to Christianity) and the Jews, who in many ways represented the most developed part of the country's trade and craft population. Spain constantly fought (with Turkey and African Muslim pirates, England, the enemies of Catholicism in France, the Dutch rebels, the opponents of the Habsburgs in Germany), which left enormous funds necessary for the development of the country. Thus, the Spanish policy led in the year 1566 to the Netherlands uprising and revolution (the Netherlands were then under the rule of Spain). In order to finance wars, the needs of the court and the Spanish nobility, taxes were ruinous for the population, foreign and domestic loans were taken. Under King Philip II (reign - 1556 - 1598), the tax burden on Castilians increased almost fourfold. Philip inherited from his father about 20 million of public debt and left the heir a five times greater debt. During his reign, his treasury three times (1557, 1575 and 1596) announced partial default on short-term loans to Genoa, German and Dutch bankers, but many of them lent money to the Spanish crown again, knowing that they would pay American silver back. All this worsened the situation of the majority of the population and even more suppressed the development of trade and handicrafts, appealed to the degradation of the national economy, which in the long term led Spain’s military-strategic defeat to the Protestant countries of North-Western Europe.
It is clear that the domination of Spain in the New World did not suit other European predators. Her wealth and possessions caused a burning envy. In particular, in the second half of the XVI century. more and more actively declares its territorial claims and England. The British also wanted to participate in a global robbery (“primitive accumulation of capital”). At the same time, London claims to be the place of a new “command post” of European (Western) civilization. The old "command post" was Rome. Representatives of the Italian aristocracy settled in London - Mediterranean trade no longer yielded previous incomes, the Ottoman Empire blocked the way to the East. In England, they are beginning to form a new form of the slave-owning order - capitalism. In contrast to Spain, England quickly advanced along the path of technical, political and social progress. By cruel and bloody “enclosing”, peasants are driven off the ground and converted into laborless tools of the workers' manufactories into completely powerless “free” from the land. Beggars and vagrants who did not go to workhouses were sent to the block and the gallows without talking. During the reign of Elizabeth, tens of thousands of people were executed. By cruel exploitation of workers of manufactories (people were literally driven into the coffin) capital is formed. Merchants, owners of manufactories and ships increased their influence, cities grew. The English church did not submit to Rome, the English monarch himself became its head. Thus, London is gradually becoming the new "command post" of the West, and the prerequisites are being created for the creation of a global colonial empire, the "workshop of the world" and the "mistress of the seas." But for the complete victory of England, it was necessary to crush the sea hegemony of Spain.
The conflict of two Western predators begins - the old and the young model of the “new world order”. Spain represented the “old order” - on the basis of Catholicism, traditional feudalism; England is a “new order”, Protestantism with its division of people into “chosen” (rich) and losers (poor) and predatory capitalism with the cruelest exploitation of the common people. Thus, it was the struggle of England and Spain (and the papal throne behind it) for leadership in the western project and for supremacy in the world.
Portrait of King of Spain Philip II by unknown artist (16th century)
Formally, the interests of the two powers at this time collided in a number of places. First, the Spanish king Philip II had a claim to the English throne. While still heir to the throne, in 1554, Philip married Mary Tudor, Queen of England. When Mary died, he wanted to marry her successor Elizabeth, but the latter rejected this matchmaking. Secondly, the Spanish king wanted England to return to the fold of Catholicism. Pope Gregory XIII (died in 1585) and his successor Sixt V pushed him to this. Yes, and English immigrant Catholics repeatedly called on Philip to extend the Counter-Reformation to England. The Spanish king was annoyed by the fact that Elizabeth I was tough on English Catholics and was the spiritual head of Protestants throughout Europe. The Spanish aristocracy wanted to punish the English "heretics".
Third, England supported the Dutch rebels. Spain, with 1567, fought against insurgents in the Netherlands. The British unofficially supported the rebels, but the English Queen Elizabeth I, wanting to avoid a head-on collision with powerful Spain, did not officially declare her intervention in the Netherlands War. In 1584, Philip II concluded the Joinville Agreement with the French Catholic League to prevent the Huguenot Heinrich of Navarre from coming to the throne of France. Fearing that Spain will act in alliance with France, the Queen of England sent 1585 to the Netherlands as Lord Regent of Earl of Leicester with 6 thousand. detachment. London also promised to pay annual subsidies to fight the Spaniards. This became the most important principle of the policy of England, and in the future the United States - financially supporting various rebels, rebels, revolutionaries, weakening and undermining the strength of their competitors. Philip II naturally perceived this as a declaration of war.
Fourthly, the British pirates constantly harassed the Spanish ships and caused damage to the colonial empire, its trade and sea communications. The former leaders of the robbery, the French, were mired in their civil war, but the British quickly mastered the lucrative "business." The main base of the pirates was Plymouth. With the permission and with the support of London, numerous pirate ships launched attacks on Spanish ships, which carried colonial goods and silver, which raided the Spanish coast in the New World. The constant attacks of the British pirates on the Spanish possessions in America and the ships, which with the tacit support of Elizabeth I personally (she was in with the pirates), undermined the economy of the Hapsburg empire and the royal finances, struck at the prestige of Spain. The Spaniards had to impose a ban on single sailing and equip the Silver or the Golden Fleet (Spanish Flota de Indias - “the fleet of India”), which was intended to export various values from the American colonies to Europe.
Another source of income for the English "gentlemen of fortune" was the slave trade. The Portuguese could not control the entire coast of Africa. Portugal took slaves mainly from Congo and Angola, and the British were operating north to Nigeria, buying people from local leaders and taking them to America. Spanish landowners willingly bought people, workers were appreciated (the Indians were poor slaves — they quickly died in captivity).
The most fortunate pirates became rich and national heroes. John Hawkins became rich in the slave trade, piracy, became a member of parliament and treasurer of the royal fleet. His son Richard plundered the city of Valparaiso. Young pirate Walter Raleigh made two raids into the West Indies, for which he received knighthood and became the queen's favorite. Elizabeth showered him with favors and rewards. Raleigh became one of the richest people in England.
One of the famous pirates, marked by the grace of the English crown, was Francis Drake. His world tour in 1577 - 1580. (second in stories after Magellan) pursued intelligence and predatory purposes. The predatory campaign was extremely successful - Drake passed the Strait of Magellan, along the Pacific coast of South America to the north, attacking Spanish ports, including Valparaiso, and then explored the coast much north of the Spanish colonies, approximately to modern Vancouver. 17 June 1579, Drake landed, supposedly, in the San Francisco area (according to another hypothesis, in modern Oregon) and declared this coast to be British possession ("New Albion"). Then Drake crossed the Pacific Ocean and went to the Moluccas. Surpassing Africa from the south, Drake returned to England, bringing back the stolen 600 treasures to thousands of pounds sterling, an amount twice the annual income of the English kingdom. Drake was met as a national hero and was awarded the knighthood. During another expedition to the West Indies, Drake ravaged the Spanish harbors of Vigo, Santo Domingo (on the island of Haiti), Cartagena (in New Granada) and San Augustin (in Florida). In 1587, he was famous for his daring attack on the Spanish port of Cadiz. It is not surprising that the Spaniards frightened their children with his pirate name; in their literature he was allegorically portrayed as a dragon.
At the same time, Drake applied a new sea battle tactic. Previously, the winner was a ship with a large number of guns. Drake contrasted the large and sluggish Spanish ships with speed and maneuverability. Drake has repeatedly argued this on his Golden Gallows galleon. With the help of special shells - knispels (consisted of two massive cast-iron parts - cores connected by an iron rod, later a chain), the pirates destroyed the rigging of an enemy vessel, immobilizing it. After that, the ship could be easily shot, inclined to surrender or take to the boarding.
Thus, Madrid had every reason to carry out a large-scale operation to eliminate the hostile and insolent Elizabethan regime. The pirate raids on Spanish ships and settlements in the Caribbean, made by Drake in 1585 – 1586, were a direct pretext for the offensive. Finally, in February 1587, Maria Stewart, the Scottish queen who also claimed the English throne, was executed for participating in the conspiracy against Elizabeth, and Philip wanted to avenge her death. The preparation of a grand military expedition to England began.
Spanish commander "Armada" Don Alonso Perez de Guzmán i de Zuniga-Sotomayor, 7 Duke Medina-Sidonia
With the financing of the expedition, the Spanish king relied on loans from Italian and German bankers, the usual royal treasury receipts, and the wealth collected in the colonies. He collected from all the fleets (Mediterranean and Atlantic, Portuguese, and also from the allies) more 130 large and medium ships (total displacement over 59 000 tons with 2630 guns on the sides) and 30 auxiliary. The squadron was named by the Spaniards "Invincible Armada". The fleet was prepared in Cadiz and Lisbon. The ships housed 8 thousand sailors and 19 thousand soldiers. For them to land in England, 30-thousand should have joined. army, located in the Netherlands under the command of Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma.
Small flat-bottomed vessels were built in Flanders. They planned to carry out the transfer of troops to the ships "Armada". It is worth noting that the landing of the landing army in England was a sensible idea, since England actually had no army. The queen had a small guard and the defense of the country was assigned to the local militia - poorly trained and armed, which the Spanish soldiers and European mercenaries would easily disperse. That is, if the Spaniards could land an army, the regime of Elizabeth fell.
The squadron was first organized by one of the heroes of Lepanto, the experienced admiral Don Alvaro de Basan, the Marquis of Santa Cruz, but he did not live to see it depart. Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, Duke of Medina-Sidonia, a clever man, but little acquainted with the maritime business, was appointed to replace Santa Cruz. Understanding his incompetence, he even tried to recuse himself, but without success.
Spanish flagship, galleon "San Martin" in battle with the British ships. Posted by Cornelis Hendrix Vrom. The ship was built in 1580 year. The galleon had a total length of approximately 55 meters, a width of approximately 12 meters. He carried more than 40 heavy guns standing on two decks and a lot weapons smaller caliber. The vessel had a displacement of approximately 1000 tons. The ship escaped death and returned to Spain.
The British and Dutch knew about these plans of Philip since 1586. In order to prevent the land army of the Duke of Parma with the Spanish fleet, the commander in chief of the English fleet, Lord Howard, Baron Effingham, sent small squadrons under the command of Winter and Seymour to patrol the coast with the Dutch. And Francis Drake suggested that Elizabeth I launch a preemptive strike and attack the Spanish ships right in the ports. 12 April 1587, the English fleet sailed from Plymouth and headed to the shores of Spain. Elizabeth transferred four galleons (Bonaventure, Golden Lion, Do not be afraid of anything and Rainbow) under the command of Drake and around 20 armed ships. 29 April Drake and his ships entered the Bay of Cadiz. Their appearance was for the Spaniards a complete surprise. The sailors of many ships were on the shore, and the ships were not ready for battle. Meanwhile, Drake's squadron engaged the galleys guarding the port. Two of them were put out of action, and the rest went under the protection of coastal artillery. The British began to seize the Spanish ships one by one: the most valuable goods were captured, after which the ships themselves were set on fire.
The next day, Drake headed a pinas flotilla (a small sailing-rowing vessel) that broke through to the internal raid. There, the British burned the galleon, which belonged to the Spanish commander Alvaro de Basan himself. On the night of April 30 on 1, the Spaniards tried to use firefighters against British pirates, but failed, and only increased the confusion and fire in the port. At dawn 1 in May, the English squadron left the harbor of Cadiz. From 60, the Karak (a large sailing ship) and a large number of other ships stationed there, the British burned or sent to the bottom from 24 (Spanish score) to 38 ships (according to Drake himself). Then the British headed north along the Iberian coast. At Sagres, the British landed troops and captured the city’s fortress, as well as the forts of Belishe and Baleira. Drake ordered to transport heavy guns from Sagres to his ships, and to destroy the fortress itself. Then the fleet stopped at Cascais, near Lisbon. All the way along the coast, Drake’s squadron destroyed merchant and fishing vessels, whose cargoes (water, wine, corned beef, ship wood, etc.) were intended primarily for the Spanish fleet.
De Bassan, who was in Lisbon with his ships, did not dare to go to sea and give battle to the enemy: his galleons and galleys were not fully equipped, their teams were not complete. The British could not attack the port because of its strong fortifications. Drake sent de Basan an offer to take the battle, but was refused. Realizing that it would not be possible to lure the Spaniards from Lisbon, Drake took his ships back to Sagres. 1 June, after ten days of rest, the squadron left Sagres. Along the way, Drake seized a rich prize, a karakka, which was coming from Goa with a large load of gold, spices and silk (on 108 thousand pounds sterling). For all the time the campaign off the coast of Portugal and Spain Drake squadron destroyed more than 100 ships with various stocks. This delayed the Invincible Armada’s performance for more than a year, but could not make the Spaniards completely abandon the idea of landing in England.
English Pirate and Admiral Francis Drake
In the same year, in order to prepare a base on the Dutch coast, the Farnese troops laid siege and 5 of August captured the port of Slais, which defended the English garrison. A canal from Sas-van-Ghent in Bruges was also dug, and the Iperle channel from Bruges to Newport was deepened so that ships coming to the coast would not be fired by the Dutch fleet or the guns of Vlissingen fortress. Troops were deployed from Spain, Italy, Germany and Burgundy, and volunteers flocked to join the expedition against England. Farnese saw that the Spaniards at the disposal of the harbor of Dunkirk, Newport and Sluys were too shallow for heavy ships of the Spanish fleet to enter. He proposed before sending the "Armada" to the coast of England to seize the deeper-water port of Vlissingen. However, Philip hurried to start the operation as soon as possible.
The Armada came out of Lisbon 9 May 1588. The main forces of the fleet were divided into 6 squadrons: "Portugal", "Castilla", "Vizcaya", "Gipuzkoa", "Andalusia" and "Levant". In addition to soldiers, sailors and oarsmen, on ships were 300 priests who were ready to revive Catholicism in the British Isles. The storm drove the “Armada” to A Coruña, from where, after repair, the ships went out to sea only on July 22.
After much controversy, the English commander Charles Howard agreed with Drake’s plan to withdraw the best British ships from Plymouth’s 54 harbor and try to destroy the Spanish fleet before it went to sea. However, the change of wind prevented this operation, and 29 July 1588 g. "Armada" appeared near the Isles of Scilly at the western tip of the Cornwall peninsula. The first collision occurred in the mind of Plymouth on July 31. The Spaniards lost three ships here, and the British suffered almost no damage.
The British ships were superior to the Spanish in maneuverability, they were commanded by experienced admirals Drake, Howard, Hawkins, Frobisher. To the English came to the aid and the Dutch ships, managed by experienced sailors. The British ships did not carry troops with various reserves, which gave an advantage in speed and maneuver. In the battles, the British also used the advantage of their artillery, not allowing the enemy closer than the distance of a cannon shot, and thus preventing them from boarding, using the numerical advantage of the crews. The Spaniards were mostly heavy, unwieldy high-breasted vessels, with a lot of guns of short range. With massive towers on the bow and stern, they resembled floating fortresses, well suited for close combat. The British ships were lower, but more maneuverable. In addition, they were equipped with a large number of long-range guns. The British responded with three shots to each shot of the Armada ship.
The Armada continued sailing to the northeast, deep into the English Channel. The Spanish fleet was located in a crescent: at the edges were the strongest warships, under their cover in the center were lurking slow trading and cargo ships. In addition, the avant-garde (actually the rearguard) of the best ships under the command of Recalde was set closer to the enemy. From whatever side the enemy came, this squad had to turn around and repel the attack. From the rest of the fleet was required to keep the line and not lose mutual support. Taking advantage of the maneuverability, the British from the very beginning came to the wind to the Spaniards. From this vantage point they could attack or dodge battle at will. The British pursued the "Armada" as it moved by the English Channel, bothering her with attacks. However, the Spaniards failed to break the defensive order for a long time.
Throughout the English Channel, both fleets fired and fought several small battles. Plymouth was followed by skirmishes at Start Point (1 August), Portland Bill (2 August) and the Isle of Wight (3 — 4 August). The defensive tactics employed by the Spaniards justified themselves: the British did not manage to sink a single Spanish ship with the help of long-range guns. However, the Spaniards lost two badly damaged ships. The Duke of Medina-Sidonia sent the fleet towards the Duke of Parma and his troops. Expecting a response from the Duke of Parma, Medina-Sidonia ordered the fleet to anchor at Calais.
The English fleet again approached the Spanish deep night from 7 to 8 in August, when the Armada anchored opposite Calais in the Dover Strait. Lord Howard sent eight burning firefighters directly to the center of the Spanish fleet. From the flagship the signal was raised "to immediately set sail". Many of the Spanish ships had time only to chop off the anchor ropes, then rushed off in panic and confusion. One large Spanish galleas stranded, many ships received significant damage.
Not giving the enemy the opportunity to regroup, the British attacked the Spaniards the next morning (Gravelino battle). During the eight-hour battle, the Spanish ships were demolished on banks northeast of Calais, against Gravellyn. It seemed that the Spanish fleet was about to stranded inevitably, delivering an easy victory to the British. However, the north-west wind was replaced by the south-west wind and carried the Spanish ships into the waters of the North Sea. The British managed to sink one or two Spanish ships and damage several more. Having lost control, one Spanish ship ran aground off Calais, three ships, carried by the wind to the east, where they too ran aground, were soon captured by the Dutch. The British did not lose a single ship, the loss of personnel for several days of continuous battles amounted to about 100 people. The Spaniards in this battle lost 600 people killed and about 800 wounded.
The rout of the Invincible Armada 8 of August 1588 of the year. Painting by the English-French painter Philippe-Jacques (Philip-James) de Lutherburg
As a result, the battle did not bring the British complete victory, besides, they ran out of ammunition, which they could not quickly replenish. The Spaniards did not know about it and did not dare to attack the enemy, especially since his own stock of gunpowder and nuclei was coming to an end. The Spanish admiral decided that it was impossible to establish control over the strait with the forces he had, and there was no question of moving to the Thames mouth, so on August 9, without warning Parma, he headed north, intending to go around Scotland and go down to south along the west coast of Ireland (the final decision was taken on 13 August). Medina-Sidonia did not dare to go back either, fearing new attacks from the English fleet. The British pursued the enemy until the Firth of Forth Bay on the east coast of Scotland, where the 12 August storm separated the opponents.
The British received the news that the Duke of Parma’s army was ready for loading onto ships - the duke still hoped that the Armada would come to Dunkirk and cover its transports, turned back to repel a possible landing. The British did not know about the plans of the Spaniards, they assumed that the Armada could replenish supplies off the coast of Denmark or Norway and go back, so the English fleet was still on alert for a long time.
The Spaniards had to abandon the idea of connecting with the forces of the Duke of Parma, and they took a voyage around the British Isles - they rounded the Shetland Islands from the north, passed along the west coast of Ireland, and then returned to Spain. The Spanish sailors did not know this area well, they did not have navigation charts on it, and autumn storms began. On the way back, a strong storm near the Orkney Islands scattered in all directions, and so pretty battered fleet. Many ships sank, crashed against the rocks, thousands of corpses were cast ashore. Some of the Spaniards who landed ashore were killed or captured. The Spanish port of Santander, on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, between September 22 and October 14 returned around 60 ships and less than half of sailors and soldiers. So ingloriously ended the campaign of the Invincible Armada. Thus, the elements dealt the most noticeable blow to the Armada, when the Spanish fleet was already returning home. During the expedition, more than 60 ships were lost (and only 7 of them - combat losses).
Spain suffered heavy losses. Home only about 60 (from 130) ships returned; human losses were estimated from 1 / 3 to 3 / 4 crew numbers. Thousands of people were killed, drowned, many died from wounds and diseases on the way home. However, this did not lead to the immediate collapse of the sea and colonial power of Spain. The Habsburg Empire successfully defended and counterattacked. The British attempt to organize a “symmetrical response”, finish off the “Armada” in the ports of Portugal and Spain, take Lisbon with the subsequent restoration of Portugal as an independent power, led to the failure and defeat of the English fleet in the 1589 year (defeat of the “English Armada”). Then the Spanish fleet inflicted several defeats on the British in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1595, Elizabeth sent Drake to the Spanish West Indies to plunder her and seize the “silver fleet” of Spain. However, the expedition failed with considerable losses, the Spanish colonial troops and fleet managed to establish an effective defense of Cuba, the Isthmus of Panama and all its fortifications on the Caribbean coast, and the British lacked an outbreak of illness (Drake himself also died). The Spaniards learned a lesson from the failure of the "Armada", abandoning heavy ships in favor of lighter ships equipped with long-range guns.
As a result, after the death of Queen Elizabeth, the finances of England were in a state of collapse. Ascended to the English throne, the Scottish king Jacob I met the requirements of the Spaniards, and in 1604, the parties entered into the peace of London. According to him, Spain recognized the legitimacy of the Protestant monarchy in England and refused to assert the domination of Catholicism in that country, in exchange, England turned aid to the Netherlands and opened the English Channel to Spanish ships.
But strategically, the defeat of the "Spanish Armada" was a victory for England. Madrid had to abandon the idea of the restoration of Catholicism in England and draw it into the sphere of influence of the Habsburg Empire. And England has taken an important step towards the future position of the "mistress of the seas" and leadership in Europe and the world. The position of the Spanish Spaniards in the Netherlands deteriorated, which eventually led to the defeat and the emergence of another maritime and trading power - Holland (Republic of the United Provinces), another rival of the Spanish Empire. Spain will begin to decline. To lose supremacy at sea, the colonies will now be seized not by the Spaniards, but by the British, the Dutch and the French.
And for the peoples and tribes of America, Africa and Asia, it will be worse than the rule of the Spaniards. For all their cruelty, the Spaniards still considered the conquered peoples, especially when they accepted Christianity, as people, subjects of the king, protected by law. Therefore, the Spaniards easily took Aboriginal women into lawful wives, their children were full-fledged subjects. The Protestants were terry racists - they did not consider the people to be local people, and they would destroy and destroy them by all means (weapons, hunger, diseases, alcohol, etc.), clearing the “living space” for themselves. No wonder that later Hitler and his assistants admired the British colonial empire, they considered themselves students of British racists.
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