xxxxxPhilip II of Spain had long wanted to invade and conquer England, mainly on two counts. Firstly to bring that country back into the Catholic fold and, secondly, to put an end to its constant support of the Dutch, then opposing his rule in the Spanish Netherlands. His invasion plan had to be delayed in 1587 -
THE SPANISH ARMADA 1588 (L1)
Philip II of Spain – portrait by the Italian Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola (1530-
xxxxxPhilip II of Spain (illustrated) had long been contemplating an invasion of England. In 1587 he made preparations for a full-
xxxxxHis first fleet, formed at Cadiz early in 1587, never left the port. In April a raid by Sir Francis Drake, using fire ships, destroyed thousands of tons of shipping and supplies, and the whole enterprise had to be postponed -
xxxxxAs the Armada moved through the Channel, the English fleet, made up -
xxxxxBut the Armada, having no deep-
xxxxxFor Spain, the failure of the Armada was an embarrassing and costly defeat for so powerful a nation, and might be seen as marking the very beginning of this impressive empire's gradual decline. It was a brave attempt by the Spanish but, logistically, it was clearly beyond their capability. For England, it was certainly a boost to national pride, and it undoubtedly secured Protestantism as the state religion. Furthermore, under the influence of men such as Drake and Hawkins, it not only confirmed England as a major naval power, but as the leader of a new concept of naval warfare. The aim was no longer to grapple with the enemy and decide the contest simply by hand-
xxxxxThe defeat of the Armada did not end the war. This lasted until 1604. In fact two further armadas were launched, in 1597 and 1599, but both had to be abandoned because of bad weather. In the meantime, The Revenge was captured by the Spaniards in an action off the Azores, a Spanish force landed in Cornwall and set fire to the ports of Mousehole and Penzance, and Admiral Howard sacked Cadiz in 1596 and brought home a great deal of booty. And it was in 1601 that Philip II sent men and arms to support the Earl of Tyrone, fighting against the English in Ireland at that time.
xxxxxIncidentally, relations between Spain and England had become strained, indeed severed, long before the launching of the Armada. In 1568 three Spanish treasure ships, bound for the Spanish Netherlands with pay for the Duke of Alva and his troops, were driven into Plymouth harbour by a storm. They were at once impounded by Elizabeth, much to the anger of Philip II. He responded by confiscating all English shipping then in Spanish ports. ……
xxxxx…… So confident were the Spanish that the invasion of England would succeed, that 180 Catholic priests accompanied the fighting men in order to re-
xxxxxThe battle illustrated above is almost certainly the work of the English artist Nicholas Hilliard (1547-
xxxxxHe explained the principles of his art in his Treatise on the Arte of Limning (i.e. miniature painting), published about 1600. In this he acknowledged his debt to the German portrait painter and miniaturist Hans Holbein the Younger. He later worked for James I, mainly as a goldsmith. Two fine examples of his portraiture can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London: An Unknown Man Against a Background of Flames and An Unknown Youth Leaning Against a Tree Among Roses (illustrated here). His son, Lawrence, was also a miniaturist.
xxxxxThe English artist Nicholas Hilliard (1547-