The Spanish Armada

Colin Martain, Author, Colin Martin, Author, Geoffrey Parker, With W. W. Norton & Company $27.5 (296p) ISBN 978-0-393-02607-8
In the summer of 1588, the Spanish Armada of 130 ships was soundly defeated, not by the English so much as by weather. Drawing on historical documents and newly discovered Spanish shipwrecks, Martin (an underwater archeologist) and Parker ( Philip II ) here write a concise history describing the power struggles and political intrigues of Europe that led to the launching of the armada. They write of the commanders and the commanded, the weapons, rations, ships and supplies of 16th century naval warfare. They trace the horrible journey of the limping armada around Ireland and back to Spain. They blast several myths: `` The invincible armada '' was a phrase penned by an Englishman, Lord Burghley, after England's victorythe Spanish had never used it. Francis Drake's alleged comment about finishing his game of bowls when the armada was first spotted was not particularly nonchalanthe had hours to wait for the turn of the tide. The armada actually succeeded, argue the authors: the Spanish ships reached Calaistheir objectivelargely intact. Here, they were to rendezvous with the Duke of Parma and his Army of Flanders to invade England. It was Parma's unreadiness (because of poor communications) that foiled Spanish plans to place a Catholic ruler on the English throne. Illustrations. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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