How did England try to show Spain planned to invade in 1588?
In the 1580s, relations between England and Spain had been getting worse and worse. By May 1588, King Philip II of Spain had finished preparing a fleet, the Spanish Armada, to invade England. His plan was for the fleet of 130 ships, carrying 30,000 sailors and soldiers, to sail up the English Channel. They would link up with the Spanish army based in the Low Countries, and together they would invade England. The Protestant Queen Elizabeth I would be removed from the throne and replaced with a Catholic ruler. The Catholic religion would be restored in England.
The arrival of the Armada on 29 July 1588 was no surprise. The English had known about its preparation for several years and had been making their own preparations to face the attack. The government had been building new ships, forts and warning beacons. They made efforts to disrupt the Spanish preparations. Francis Drake attacked the Spanish fleet in Cadiz harbour in 1587. They had also been trying to win the war of words - the propaganda battle between the two countries.
- Elizabeth I had clearly been blamed by the Spanish for starting the war by building up her armed forces, her army and her navy. What reasons did the writer give to explain Elizabeth's actions?
- Why were there more soldiers than sailors?
- How did the writer try to appeal to as many English people as possible?
1. This is an extract taken from a draft proclamation by the government of Elizabeth I. This was sent with a letter on 24th June 1588 by Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I's chief minister, to Sir Francis Walsingham. They were clearly discussing how to make their case most persuasive and to blame the war on others.
- In this document they use the following writer's tricks, can you find them?
- strong adjectives
- What evidence can you find to support the view that the English knew about Philip II's preparations well in advance?
2. Elizabeth's ministers accused Catholic English rebels of trying to make her 'honorable actions' look bad.
- Can you find a strong adjective and a strong verb?
- Which religious leader did the English Government blame for encouraging the invasion?
- What did Elizabeth I's ministers say that leader's motive was?
- What did they say would happen to ordinary English people?