Before and After the Armada – by Ann Swinfen

The defeat of the enormous and well-trained Spanish Armada fleet by the smaller English fleet in the English Channel during the summer of 1588 is probably one of the most famous naval battles in history, along with Salamis, Lepanto and Trafalgar, not least because the outcome hung in the balance until a strong southwest wind drove the Spanish ships into the North Sea.

As the English said afterwards, in thankfulness mixed with perhaps a touch of complacency, ‘God blew his winds and they were scattered’.

However, events before and after the great battle, which culminated off Gravelines, are rather less well known. Elsewhere in this blog I have written about the retaliatory expedition by England against Spain in 1589, known as the Counter Armada ( but other events surrounding this iconic date are…

Source: Before and After the Armada – by Ann Swinfen

2 thoughts on “Before and After the Armada – by Ann Swinfen

  1. I knew a little about these events, but it was good to read more details.
    One of the things that always interested me, was the fact that some survivors of the Armada remained in Ireland, even having children with local women. Hence the dark hair that began to be seen on some Irish people, and the different complexions. I asked an Irish friend about this in the 1980s, and he told me they were known as ‘Black Irish’, or ‘Armada Irish.’
    From the web. Something to possibly refute this theory…
    ‘Another theory of the origin of the term ‘Black Irish’ is that these people were descendants of Spanish traders who settled in Ireland and even descendants of the few Spanish sailors who were washed up on the west coast of Ireland after the disaster that was the ‘Spanish Armada’ of 1588. It is claimed that the Spanish married into Irish society and created a new class of Irish who were immediately recognisable by their dark hair and complexion. There is little evidence to support this theory and it is unlikely that any significant number of Spanish soldiers would have survived long in the war-torn place that was sixteenth century Ireland. It is striking though how this tale is very similar to the ancient Irish legend of the Milesians who settled in Ireland having travelled from Spain.’
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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