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Elizabeth I Spanish Armada Facts

Elizabeth I Spanish Armada Facts: During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England was constantly under threat of attack from Spain. Spain was a far more powerful country than England, with a vast naval force and a lot of money and power at their disposal.

Queen Elizabeth Spanish Armada


There were a couple of reasons why Philip II of Spain was ready and eager to war with England. One reason was religion. Philip had been married to Elizabeth’s Catholic sister Mary, and he was eager to return England to the old religion.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth

He was also angry at Elizabeth for seemingly allowing Sir Frances Drake to plunder his trade vessels and take their cargo for their own and carry it back to England.

Interesting Facts about the Spanish Armada

The first schemes drawn up for invading England date from 1559, this included taking ships into the English Channel and making an armed landing. Philip believed that this plan was too rash and something more subtle was required.

Another such undertaking was attempted in 1574 but never really got off the ground as Philip would have liked. He knew that the English Navy was more substantial now than it ever was as when married to Mary she had seen her arrange the building of new ships and a strengthening of the navy.

Elizabeth I Spanish Armada Facts

The attack of the Spanish Armada was years in the planning. Preparations began in 1586, though Spain suffered a setback when Drake attacked his ships which were being prepared for the Armada while they were docked at the Port of Cadiz in 1587. The plan was for the Armada to land on the Kent coast, and for the land, invasion to be launched.

Spanish Armada Ships Details

The Armada was made up of one hundred and thirty ships, which had been equipped with two and a half thousand guns/cannons. Around 30,000 soldiers were being transported by the fleet, ready for the invasion when they landed on the English coast.

Despite the ships from Spain being much larger than the English ships, they were outnumbered. The fact that the English ships were smaller meant that they were easier and quicker to maneuver which gave the English the advantage.


Spanish Armada Ships
Spanish Armada Ships


While the Armada was moored in the English Channel, England set fire to eighty old ships which had been loaded with anything that could burn.

The ships were set adrift in the channel in the direction of the Armada in the hope that they would come into contact with the Spanish vessels and blow them up. The fire-ships caused the Spanish fleet to break its formation and the English were able to pick them off easily.

Spanish Armada Defeat

Other things also contributed to the defeat of the Armada. The food and water that they had taken on board at the start of their voyage had not been correctly stored.

Elizabeth I Spanish Armada Facts

The food went rotten and the water was undrinkable, which lead to a weakened and disheartened ship’s crew and company. The weather too was not in their favor as storms forced some of the ships in the Armada onto the rocks, destroying them.

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