Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Armada by Garrett Mattingly

I think most people who are familiar with the story of the Spanish Armada have the impression that the story went something like this;
In 1588 the Catholic Spanish King sent a fleet of ships bigger than anything ever previously assembled to Protestant England in order to crush the English military and remove Queen Elizabeth from the throne. However, the smaller, faster English fleet coupled with a major storm combined to defeat the Armada and usher in a new era of Rule Britannia.
The true story is much different. The two fleets were actually pretty fairly matched and in the end it was a lack of provisions (especially gun powder and cannon balls) that caused the Spanish defeat. The Spanish ran out of ammunition and the English at the end were able to hammer away at the Armada from close range with devastating effects.

The battle and the results didn't much change the balance of power between England and Spain but surprisingly it had great political ramifications in France.

Garrett Mattingly tells this true story in his fascinating 1959 book The Armada. I highly recommend this book to fans of military or world history. Thank you to whoever first recommended this book to me.

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