Spanish Armada

If the Spanish Armada had successfully invaded England in 1588 the course of British history would have been altered forever. Read about the build up to the Spanish invasion, the measures Elizabeth I took to sabotage the campaign, and the events that led to England's victory against the Spanish Armada.


In December 1587 Queen Elizabeth I put Lord Howard of Effingham in charge of England’s defence against the Spanish Armada.


The threat to the Crown from Catholic forces continued to grow for Queen Elizabeth I during the 1580s.


Queen Elizabeth I used her power over language to shape Britain’s history and frame the narrative of the Spanish Armada by giving a now-famous speech to her troops on 9 August 1588.

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On 22 July 1588 the Spanish Armada, a force of 130 ships and 18,000 men, left northern Spain and headed for the English Channel. Its objective was to rendezvous with a large army assembled in the Netherlands, commanded by the Duke of Parma.

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Last week we discussed the build up to the Spanish Armada, today we look at its arrival off the English coast and the most famous speech of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

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What was the legacy of the defeat of the Spanish Armada and Elizabeth I's famous Tilbury speech, and what can the Armada Portrait tell us about it? 

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The iconic Armada portrait of Elizabeth I commemorates the most famous conflict of her reign – the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in summer 1588.


The Armada Portrait is one of the most famous portraits of Elizabeth I - but did you know that there are actually three versions of the same painting? Find out more about the different 'Faces of a Queen'...

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The Spanish Armada of 1588 was the defining moment of Elizabeth I's reign. Spain's defeat secured Protestant rule in England, and launched Elizabeth onto the global stage.