This article is a part of all information about the Spanish Armada. Here is the complete list.
The Earlier Preparations
When Queen Elizabeth I came to know about the preparations made by Spain to invade England she first, tried to handle the matter diplomatically through political deliberations. She had comparatively less faith in Sir Francis Drake’s ability. She was also very apprehensive on how to handle the mighty Spanish Armada. However, England was also making their own set of preparations to protect themselves from the invasion.
The Invincible Armada
When the news spread in England that the Armada had sailed off the coast, was crossing the English channel and going to reach the Southern shore of England, there was a lot of anxiety, upheavals and tribulations in entire England. People were scared and apprehensive about the attack because there was a lot of hullabaloos about the strength and power of the Spanish Armada which comprised of more than 130 ships, carrying huge ballistic arms and ammunition. This caused a great furore and Elizabeth I was trying all political considerations together with the naval preparations in England. When the information came about the Armada finally sailing off the coast, the signal fires were lit and final preparations began to defend the attack.
England also geared up
By this time, because of a few reasons like the delay in invasion by the Spanish Armada, the stormy and bad weather conditions, England was all geared up to put up a strong fight. In fact, the initial apprehensiveness and anxiety were replaced by strong determination and confidence to not only protect but to defeat. With this spirit, it became all the easier for England to start the initial skirmish with full vigour and later on to gain victory.
It was on Saturday, July 20th that the two naval fleets actually came into contact with each other. The Spanish Armada sailed past the English Channel and Plymouth harbour to reach the southern coast of England. By this time, it was in full sight and there was a long line of Spanish ships and army men. England was not bogged-down but rather had high-spirits to showcase their might in defending the attack for the cause of freedom and respect. In the start, the Spaniards attacked with full conviction but even the England ships confronted the attack bravely. On Sunday, July 21st, England made their first attack.
Under the strong leadership of Sir Howard and Sir Drake, England made a good show. They were aware as leaders that in a ship-to-ship fight, the winner will be the one who has greater power, better arms and a well-planned strategy. So, they kept close to the Spanish ships and continued bombarding.
The two naval fleets continued the early squirmish and the Spanish Armada made sail and also attempted to come even closer. It is said, that the Spanish were very sure of their winning and did not anticipate such a strong defence put up by the English. The comparatively smaller English ships let the Spanish fleet to come closer and they kept firing four shots to one. The English naval fleet was also giving a hard time to the Spanish Armada. By this time, the weather worsened. The tempestuous weather was against the Spaniards and they soon began to lose supplies. The wind came from the west and this helped and supported the English fleet.
The wind kept rising, by this time England stopped in want of gunpowder for which they sent a message to London. But, Spain could not retreat to replenish their dwindling supplies. This was a huge set-back from the Invincible Armada. This eventually became one of the strongest reasons for its defeat. This early skirmish between England and Spain is seen as one of the biggest preliminary skirmishes in world history.