Elizabeth I: The Golden Age - SAILING HOME by a NORTHERN ROUTE

SAILING HOME by a NORTHERN ROUTE (Illustration) Geography Government Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs World History

This map, from the U.S. Military Academy (at West Point), depicts the Spanish Armada's route home during the late summer and early fall of 1588. Click on the image for a clearer view.


Not only were the ships now in unfamiliar waters, to return home they would have to sail around the top of Scotland, then down the rocky west coast of Ireland. Even then, the winds were not favorable for the defeated Armada. Many ships were lost on the Irish and Scottish coasts.

Philip II's Armada objectives (to restore the Catholic Church, to insure Spanish ships would dominate world trade and not be threatened by Britain in the "new world," and to punish British support of rebels in Spanish-held Holland) came to naught. The king - who dreamed of victory and planned a great Armada he had never personally seen - bore the loss in stride:

The Spanish king himselfe bare the over-throw patiently, as receaved from God, and gave and commanded to bee given all over Spaine thankes to God and the Saints, that it was no more grievous; and used singular mercy in relieving the distressed souldiours and saylers. (Camden, Annales Rerum Angliae et Hiberniae Regnante Elizabetha, 1588, Section 34)

Most of the dishonor went to Don Alonso, the 7th Duke of Medina-Sedonia (who had tried to persuade his king that the entire plan was unwise) and to Alexander Farnese, the Duke of Parma (who was never able to meaningfully help).

The British people rejoiced that the threat had passed:

Now was that hydeous tempest blowen over, which thundered so threateningly out of Spaine ... (Camden, Annales Rerum Angliae et Hiberniae Regnante Elizabetha, 1588, Section 41)

But a "hideous tempest" was about to begin for the survivors of the Armada. They likely had no idea of extremely hard days ahead as they tried to sail back to Spain by way of the North Sea.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Dec 23, 2016

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"SAILING HOME by a NORTHERN ROUTE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 2007. Nov 22, 2019.
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