A/N: This is basically a shortened historical piece I have written about the construction and the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
I've noticed here on that many writer like to portray the Armada history as a pirating adventure, when it was not. The closest thing to "pirates" in the fleets were some privateering ships used from Queen Elizabeth's "Sea Dogs". People also like to write is an account of rape and torture for Antonio, which is highly offensive and not only disrespectful to the citizens of the country, but rape itself is a sensitive topic and should not be used a plot motive. The English fleet of ships and Spanish Navy didn't even board each other's ships and the fighting took days, weeks, so I hope this document I have written will be useful to those who wish to write of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
Do not try claiming this as your own, I put a lot of research and hard work into this. I hope it helps and I hope I see less "rape" or historically inaccurate fanfics about the Golden Age between these two countries.
Grande y Felic sima Armada or Armada Invencible
[ Great and most fortunate Navy or Invincible Fleet ]
The Spanish Armada is perhaps one of the best known fleet of ships throughout history. It was assembled by King Phillip II of Spain during the age of the Spanish Empire to invade and take over England. The initial plan to invade England began in 1586 when The Spanish King had come to the conclusion that he could not defeat the revolting Protestant Netherlands (the revolt itself had been aided by the English and began in 1566 and was also led by the greatest strategist of the time, Maurice of Nassau, son of William the Silent). The fleet consisted of 130 ships and King Phillip had boasted about his new fleet, being the largest ever assembled at the time and with the most weaponry with it.
The leader of the Spanish Armada was the Duke of Parma, who was actually chosen at the last minute. The original leader was Marquis of Santa Cruz, but he suffered a death in February 1588. The Duke had come from a long line of brilliant military leaders hence why he was chosen. However, the Duke had not wanted to lead the Navy and rather he had wanted to stay with his land, however he did prove to be a good leader in battle.
King Phillip's previous wife had been Mary I, Queen of England she was just as devout a Catholic as he. She later gained the nickname "Bloody Mary" due to having killed many people because of her extreme religious views. After her death in 1558, Phillip created many plots to over Mary's sister, Elizabeth. He had declared her a heretic and said she was not the rightful Queen. Phillip had favored her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots and he had decided that once he had overthrown Elizabeth, he'd make her the 'rightful' Catholic Queen though his plots ended getting the Scotswoman executed in 1587.
The fleet finally set sail from Lisbon, Portugal on May 28 1588 and headed toward the English Canal with 151 ships (It took two days to actually leave port, though). The English did try to negotiate peace with the Parma's representatives, though it all went vainly as well as the attempt to intercept the Spanish fleet at the Bay of Biscay. On July 16th all negotiation was abandoned and the English stood with 200 ships, however the Spanish had roughly fifty percent more fire power and were much better prepared at the time. The English fleet consisted of 34 ships from the royal fleet, 12 privateering ships from Elizabeth's infamous "Sea Dogs", and 163 various other ships converted for the sake of battle.
The Spanish Armada was not sighted in England until July 19th due to bad weather and it appeared near Cornwall and a message had been relayed all the way to London due to a system of becons set up prior to the sighting. However, Phillip's orders had strictly forbidden them to attack while they anchored at land, so the Armada sailed toward the Isle of Wight where 55 ships lead by Lord Howard of Effingham and Sir Francis Drake set out to confront the Spanish ships.
On July 20th the English moved upwind, gaining a significant advantage for them to execute their plans of action. The fighting officially began on July 21st where Sir Francis Drake was positioned to the North with 11 ships and Howard was down towards the south with the remaining English fleet. The Spanish were formed in a cresent-shaped defensiveness formation. The Armada of Spain was best at close range battle so the English took the intuitive to fight at long range with canons bombarding the Spaniards. These distances were ineffective though and after the first day of fighting, neither fleet had lost a ship to the other. At night fall the Francis Drake had turned back to loot two abandoned ships, but because he had not been leading his men with nothing more than a lantern the group had scattered and it took a whole day for the English fighters to regroup which gave the Spanish a day of grace, per say. Fighting began again on the 23rd.
At Calais (The Spanish Netherlands, which is modern day Belgium) the Spaniards anchored on the 27th of July and having been blockaded by a Flemish fleet of flyboats, causing the Spanish to begin feeling much more vulnerable as night fell. On midnight of the 28th of July, the English filled much needed warships with brimstone and set them on fire, sailing them toward the Spanish. The Spaniards feared that the flaming ships were "hellburners" (Hellburners were a type of fire ship constructed by the Dutch during the Siege of Antwerp and had proved to be immensely effective against opponents) and they succeeded in hauling two ships away while the rest continued to close in on them. The Battle of Gravelines followed soon after this panic began, the Spanish ended up loosing five galleons to the English and many of their gunners were shot and killed, leaving their canons to be practically useless.
In August, the Spanish fleet was being chased by the English and Spain was rather close to Scotland at this time, after some time the chasers gave way. On August 8th, Queen Elizabeth came to her people and gave what is known as her Tilbury Speech which is considered to be one of her most famous speeches. In Spetember, the Spanish had sailed around Scotland and Ireland to but they made a critical navigation error, resulting in another encounter with a British fleet. It is said that around 5,000 died from either starvation, death at sea, or by being slaughtered by the Englishman when they were driven ashore at Ireland. Only half the fleet survived on the trip back to Spain and only some 10,000 men made it back. However, most of them died back in Spain or on hospital ships due to diseases and the conditions aboard the Spanish Armada.
After learning of all the causalities and the aftermath of the expedition, King Phillip II said "I sent the Armada against men, not God's winds and waves.
The next year, the English launched a similar campaign against Spain called The Counter Armada of 1589.