Armada is a popular Spanish word for a fleet. In 1588, the most fortunate fleet in Spain, the la felicissima armada, made up of 150 Spanish, Portuguese and Naples ships was made. This was the largest fleet of the time across Europe and it was considered invincible by Phillip II of Spain. A description of the fleet was later published in Europe with a main goal of spreading fear amongst the enemies of Spain.
Planning of the Armada Campaign
Planning of the Armada campaign was done by King Phillip II of Spain. He came up with the plan as he intended to sail with his army and navy up the English Channel. The group of about 30,000 men wanted to link up with forces in the Spanish Netherlands led up by the Duke of Parma. They also planned to invade England and spread Catholicism across the region.
Why invade England
King Phillip II had different reasons for invading England. He wanted to put an end to religious differences between the two countries, expansion in the new world of Americans and competition for trade in the region. These were his major reasons among others.
Mary queen of Scots and claim over the rule of England
As a child, Mary had been brought up in a catholic background in France but returned to Scotland to rule. Her grandmother was the sister of Henry VIII and after she suspected that there was a plot to kill her husband Lord Darnley, she fled to England and was imprisoned for 18yrs. This is because Queen Elizabeth feared any plots against her throne.
In 1586, Mary Queen of Scots was executed sending shivers across Catholic Europe. This is an event that also added up to the reasons as to why King Phillip II wanted to invade England in a bid to avenge the killing of the queen.
King Phillip also wanted to help sea beggars and by invading England, he would easily achieve his goals. The Sea Beggars was a small group of noblemen Protestants determined to drive Spanish out of Netherlands. They led a revolt against Spanish occupation under the leadership of William and later on his son Justin of Nassau after his father died.
During the resign of Mary I of England, Sailor Sir Francis Drake enraged King Phillip. It is during the same period that England expanded its trade activities in 1560s and 1570s while building a strong navy. Francis Drake therefore joined the navy as a very young boy and made his name by attacking different treasure ships sailing from America to Spain.
However, his daring act was in 1586 when he set alight Spanish ships in Cadiz harbor with an aim to singe the King of Spain’s beard. This angered King Phillip and added up to his reasons to invade England. He then established a strong superiority navy under the Spanish Armada to spread Catholicism in England.
The Duke of Medina Sidonia was elected the commander of the great Armada and on board, was army soldiers ready to invade England. They fought a fierce battle before and during a stormy weather that destroyed many ships. 65 out of 150 ships in the Armada returned to Lisbon.