Ch 07 Origin of the English Revolution

CHAPTER VII: ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION

Hits: 2548

 

SECTION  1: THE STRUGGLE WITH SPAIN

THE ENGLISH MERCHANT CLASS, BACKED BY THE GOVERNMENT, WAS DETERMINED TO BREAK THROUGH THE COLONIAL MONOPOLY THAT SPAIN HAD ESTABLISHED IN THE WEST TOWARDS THE END OF THE 16th CENTURY.

THE SEA POWERS, ESPECIALLY THE DUTCH, SHARED THIS AMBITION.

 

PHILIP’S MARRIAGE TO MARY TUDOR SEEMED TO PROMISE SPAIN CONTROL OVER ENGLAND, BUT MARY’S DEATH FRUSTRATED THESE PLANS, AND ELIZABETH WAS FAR TOO ASTUTE TO REPEAT MARY’S BLUNDERS.

WHEN PHILIP REALISED THAT HIS PLANS WERE FAILING, HE TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE TO GAIN CONTROL AND FINALLY WENT TO WAR.

 

THE PAPACY WAS CLOSELY ALLIED WITH SPAIN, AND THE STRUGGLE WAS COMPLICATED BY THE MINORITY - LARGE NUMBERS OF CATHOLICS WHO COULD REVOLT.

 

SO, THE POLITICAL AMBITIONS HAD RELIGIOUS UNDERTONES.

 

SPAIN CONTROLLED SOUTH ITALY, AUSTRIA, HUNGARY, THE NETHERLANDS AND A VAST COLONIAL EMPIRE. HOWEVER, IN THE CHANNEL AND NORTH SEA, A FLEET OF SHIPS, PART ENGLISH, PART DUTCH, DOMINATED THE STRAITS AND RAIDED SPANISH AND FRENCH SHIPPING THERE AND BEYOND.

 

IN 1572, PHILIP DEMANDED THAT THE CHANNEL FLEET BE EXPELLED.

 

ELIZABETH WAS FACED WITH THE UNWELCOME ARRIVAL OF MARY STUART WHO HAD SUPPORT FROM CATHOLIC EARLS NORTHUMBERLAND AND WESTMORELAND.

THEY STARTED A REVOLT IN THE NORTH TO FREE MARY, MARRY HER TO THE DUKE OF NORFOLK AND PLACE HER ON THE THRONE OF ENGLAND.

FOR 18 YEARS, MARY WAS AT THE CENTRE OF VARIOUS PLOTS TO ASSASSINATE ELIZABETH.

ALTHOUGH THE ENGLISH WERE ENCOURAGING PRIVATEER ACTIVITIES ON SPANISH SHIPPING AND TOWNS, NEITHER ELIZABETH OR HER MINISTERS THOUGHT SPAIN STRONG ENOUGH OR WILLING ENOUGH TO CHALLENGE, NOT WHILE MARY WAS ALIVE.

PHILIP OF SPAIN WAS PREPARED TO AWAIT ENGLISH DEVELOPMENTS, BUT, AS TIME PASSED AND THE RAIDS ON SPAIN GREW, PHILIP SENT HELP TO THE IRISH CATHOLICS.

ELIZABETH COULD SEE NO WAY OF KEEPING THE PEACE, ESPECIALLY      AFTER WILLIAM OF ORANGE WAS ASSASSINATED AND THE DUTCH SENT FOR HELP.

ELIZABETH HESITATED. DRAKE HAD SET OFF AROUND THE WORLD IN 1577 AND RETURNED WITH A HUGE CARGO OF BOOTY.

 

IN 1580, A SPANISH FORCE LANDED IN IRELAND. WAR WITH SPAIN BECAME INEVITABLE, AND THE CASE FOR KEEPING MARY ALIVE BECAME WEAKER.

MARY HAD SEALED HER FATE WHEN SHE BEQUEATHED HER THRONE TO PHILIP, AND, IN 1577, SHE WAS BEHEADED.

 

PHILIP GATHERED SHIPS, THE ARMADA, FOR THE CONQUEST OF ENGLAND, BUT DRAKE DELAYED IT AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FLEET AT CADIZ.

BY 1588, IT REACHED ENGLISH WATERS.

 

THE DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA WAS REGARDED AS SOMETHING OF A MIRACLE, BUT, IN FACT, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A MIRACLE HAD IT SUCCEEDED.

THE SPANISH SHIPS WERE BUILT ON OLD LINES, PRIMARILY AS TROOP CARRIERS WITH THE AIM TO RAM AND GRAPPLE.

 

THE ENGLISH AND DUTCH HAD EVOLVED A NEW METHOD OF WAR, USING SMALLER SHIPS TO HOUSE BATTERIES OF GUNS, WHICH WERE ABLE TO DISABLE THE SPANISH SHIPS FROM A DISTANCE.

FASTER, SMALLER SHIPS CAPABLE OF SAILING INTO THE WIND OUTMANOEVRED THE SPANISH.

ALTHOUGH THE BATTLE LASTED TWO WEEKS, THE ARMADA WAS DRIVEN INTO THE NORTH SEA AND COULD ONLY RETURN TO SPAIN AROUND NORTH SCOTLAND AND IRELAND.

IT LOST MORE SHIPS AND MEN THAT WAY, WHILE THE ENGLISH ACTION RESULTED IN LESS THAN 100 MEN KILLED IN TOTAL.

THE SPANISH, AT THE MERCY OF THE ENGLISH, HAD THEIR COLONIES CAPTURED AND PORTS PLUNDERED BY MERCHANTS AND SHIPPING, BUT WAR DRAGGED ON BETWEEN PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC ELEMENTS.

HOWEVER, THE DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA IS A TURNING POINT IN THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF ENGLAND, WHICH BECAME EVER STRONGER.

 

EVEN BEFORE THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH, PARLIAMENT BEGAN TO SHOW A TYPE OF INDEPENDENCE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN.

 

THE FIRST PHASE OF THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION WAS OVER.

IT HAD DEFEATED FEUDAL EUROPE, AND THE CLASSES THAT DEFEATED PHILIP WERE EXACTLY THOSE THAT LED THE OPPOSITION TO CHARLES.

IT WAS A STRIKING FACT THAT AT THE START OF THE CIVIL WAR THE WHOLE NAVY AND ALL SEAPORTS WERE ON THE SIDE OF PARLIAMENT.

 

THE PEOPLE HAD A SENSE OF BEING ‘THE ELECT’, WHICH MADE THEIR PURITANISM SUCH A FORMIDABLE CREED.

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site