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The Return of the ArmadasThe Last Years of the Elizabethan War against Spain 1595-1603$
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R. B. Wernham

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204435.001.0001

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The Islands Voyage and the 1597 Armada

The Islands Voyage and the 1597 Armada

Chapter:
(p.171) XII The Islands Voyage and the 1597 Armada
Source:
The Return of the Armadas
Author(s):

R. B. Wernham

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204435.003.0013

Whether or not the Earl of Essex sincerely intended attempting to burn the Spanish Armada in Ferrol, circumstances soon made such an enterprise impracticable. After the expedition finally left Plymouth on August 17, north-west and west winds forced it some way into the Bay of Biscay and it ‘had great pains in turning out’. The two warships earmarked for the Ferrol enterprise, St Matthew and St Andrew, were badly affected. The rest of the fleet had fallen in with the land east of Cape Ortegal. These mishaps threw the fleet into some confusion. Sir Water Ralegh in the Warspite, without a mainsail, could only run before the wind, now gone easterly. Essex believed a privateer's story that the Ferrol armada had gone to the Azores. As a consequence, England's defences were almost entirely unmanned when the armada appeared off Cornwall. Sir William Monson commented that Spain ‘never had so dangerous an enterprise on us’. It is not surprising that Queen Elizabeth I was not very pleased with Essex.

Keywords:   Earl of Essex, Spanish Armada, Ferrol, expedition, winds, warships, Water Ralegh, Spain, England, Azores

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