England and the Spanish Armada: The Necessary Quarrel

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Press:Yale Univ Pr Yale University Press; 1St Edition edition (May 11, 2005)
Publication Date:2005-6
Author Name:McDermott, James


The Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1603 was, to most contemporary Englishmen, a conflict for the soul of the nation. 
To their descendants, the Armada campaign of 1588 represented a watershed in European history that both preserved English freedoms and halted the momentum of an ambitious and alien empire.
Yet the victorious nation had contributed much to the conflict.
This book examines the process by which the Spaniard, a long-term ally and friend, became in English eyes the epitome of human depravity, and how resistance to his imagined goals helped shape an emerging sense of nationhood.The antipathies generated by this process ensured that the Armada campaign was a battle for different ideals of civilization.
The protagonists expected the clash to be decisive, but what ensued was no heroic encounter.
Instead it was an inconclusive affair, redeemed—for England—by atrocious weather and poor Spanish understanding of the coastlines of western Scotland and Ireland.

Book Description

The British came to view the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 as victory over an alien and ambitious empire, yet they themselves had fueled the conflict. 
This book examines the process by which the Spaniard, a long-term ally and friend, became in English eyes the epitome of human depravity and how this helped shape an emerging sense of nationhood.

About the Author

James McDermott is the author of Martin Frobisher: Elizabethan Privateer, published by Yale University Press.


History,Military,Naval,Europe,Great Britain,England,World

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Comment List (Total:1)

  •     This good historical account is primarily one of naval supremacy in the 16th century, an primarily a view of the English side of the epic conflict with Spain over religion and power.The Armada was created by Phillip II in 1588 with the hopes of bringing the Catholic church back to England by the Sword. General Parma's troops were massed in the Netherlands to be floated across the channel under the tutelage of the massive Armada made up of Caravels and even Triremes. The Armada was paid for by the Churchs gold, it was to be a crusade. England was a provincial backwater, not yet a sea power, and Elizabeth an untested queen, her captains like Sir Francis Drake were pirates. However the Armada failed. It fell into issues in the Channel, the weather was bad, it blew out to sea, foundered in Ireland(where later Eamon De Velera was a descendant of Catholic shipwrecked Spaniards). Elizabeth and her interesting assortment of naval commanders were made heroes. England gained a defining moment that would be replayed when she faced down both Napoleon and then Hitler across the same Channel and was miraculously saved both times. Protestant Europe survived and as we know much of the world was altered by the victory.The author is an expert on Maritime studies and specializes in privateering and naval warfare. This makes him an excellent choice for storyteller of this momentous clash, since so much of it rests on the differences in ship design, wheather and captaincy. A good, pleasing read, and a wonderful contribution to the subject matter.Seth J. Frantzman

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