"My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people.... I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any Prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm." (Queen Elizabeth I)
On July 12, 1588, the legendary Spanish Armada started for the English channel. The Spanish plan was to take this invasion, led by the duke of Parma, to the coast of southeast England, where they would be released to conquer Elizabethan England for the Spanish monarch and Catholic Christendom. The Armada included over 150 ships, 8,000 sailors, and 18,000 soldiers, and it boasted the firepower of 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns. Just leaving port took the entire Armada two days.
As everyone who has been taught history now knows, the Armada was one of the most famous military debacles in history. Now, whether it was simple mathematical miscalculation or plain bad luck, coupled with English fire ships assailing the Spanish ships, the Armada was decisively defeated. The Armada ultimately found its reluctant way home in awful condition, having permanently lost over one third of the ships. And on the Irish coast the Armada had suffered further losses.
Not yet knowing what had happened to the Armada, internal English gentry and militias sought to secure and protect England. This was when Elizabeth I consolidated her image as mother-protector of her people.
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