In 1580 Spain conquered Portugal,
and shortly thereafter the Spanish were implicated in two plots against
the life of Elizabeth. Spain was also involved in conflicts with Protestants
in the Netherlands. Elizabeth countered by allowing her sea pirates to
prey on Spanish shipping and by offering some support to the Protestants.
Philip retaliated by organizing a flotilla of 150 ships with 26,000 men,
which sailed from Lisbon in 1588, bound for England. Fortunately, foul
weather and faster, more modern English ships foiled the whole enterprise.
The English were jubilant and the Netherlands were so delighted by the
Spanish defeat that they issued their own celebratory medal. It shows
the Armada ships dashed against rocks.
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This page updated August 15, 2003