Queen Elizabeth and the Spanish Armada Author:Frances Winwar On the death of King Henry VIII, England was a land of turmoil and confusion. Henry had separated the Church of England from the Church of Rome, had had six wives, and left a ten year old son to rule. — The situation grew worse when the boy king died and was succeeded by his half-sister Mary, whose persecution of the Protestants earned her the n... more »ame Bloody Mary.
When Mary died in 1558, Elizabeth became Queen of England. Under her rule the island empire grew in wealth and power despite the efforts of the mighty Spanish Empire to block its progress.
In 1580 Elizabeth bestowed knighthood on Francis Drake, who had plundered Spanish ships and towns without mercy. In so doing she hurled defiance and Philip II of Spain, who demanded Drake's head. The final showdown came when Elizabeth's tiny navy took on the 114 ships of Philip's Invincible Armada in one of the most daring naval maneuvers in all history.« less