English vs Spain and Spanish Armada

by: Josiah Mazelin, Mckenna Yankel, and Emily Zimmer




After two years of tension and conflict between Catholic Spain and Protestant England, on February 8 1587 Mary Queen of Scots was executed by her cousin, Elizabeth I, Queen of England. This left Philip II of Spain, Mary’s husband, the throne. After the death of Mary, Philip had but one goal: place a Catholic monarch in England. He set the Spanish Armada to invade England on May 28 1588, but at The Battle of Gravelines the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English Armada and ended up having to set sail around Scotland. It was on this endeavour that the Armada faced tempestuous storms, that ultimately destroyed the fleet. Various other battles occurred; most resulting in English victory. In the end, despite Philip's effort, the English had claimed final victory. Thus allowing the Protestant Reformation to continue to occur in England, without opposing conflict.


Queen Elizabeth I re-issued The Act of Supremacy, renewing the Church of England in 1559. This upset numerous Catholics, as it was viewed as challenging the authority of the Pope. Philip II of Spain was among those irritated by Elizabeth's actions. After this, there was a definite growing tension and conflict between Catholic Spain and Protestant England. In 1584, when Philip signed the Treaty of Joinville with the Catholic League of France, and Elizabeth signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with the protestant Dutch rebels, tensions were extraordinarily high. In 1585 The Anglo- Spanish War had broken out.


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Key Figures

Queen Elizabeth~ She was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth succeeded her sister, Mary, who had succeeded their brother, Edward VII. Elizabeth's rule was one of success and admiration, and it lasted from November 17, 1558 until her death on March 24, 1603. She was often referred to as "The Virgin Queen" as she never married and or bore children. Due to her not bearing children, James I became her successor.

Sir Francis Drake~ He was a great English man. Drake was second-in-command of the English Armada and military. He led England to numerous victories, such as The Battle of Santo Domingo. In addition to having the titles of sea captain, privateer, navigator, and slaver, Drake was knighted by Elizabeth I.

Philip ll of Spain~ He was a strict Catholic and heavily frowned upon Protestants. Philip so disliked Protestants, he conjured up the Spanish Armada to go stop the Protestant Reformation in England.


After the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, James i took the throne of England. James I aimed to make a peace between the Catholics and the Protestants; to make a peace between Europe. In 1604, shortly after taking the throne, James I issued The Treaty of London with Spain. This treaty returned relations between Spain and England, for the most part, back to normal, and it truly did create a peace. The rule of James !, and The Treaty of London were the end to this long war.

Main Significance

The significance of this war is the peace established at the end. The peace formed before the catholics of Spain and the protestants of England set ground to the new acceptance of protestants. The Protestant Reformation could now occur in peace, and those who once looked upon protestants with disdain, now could see that perphaps protestants were not the devil. This war was the real first step in how others viewed protestantism to be acceptable.

Primary Source


Summary of Source:

An armada is fleet of warships. After England was defeated by Spain’s navy, the Spanish retreated back to their country. Spain wanted to secure England’s channel and therefore the English navy began bombarding the Spanish war ships. On July 29, after midnight, English sent 8 burning ships into the crowded channel; resulting in Spanish troops going north to Scottland. By October, half of the armada had died and about 15,000 men perished. This helped make England a world class power because they defeated the “invincible armada.” They also helped in the advancement of new war technology.