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Old December 12th, 2012, 09:59 PM   #1
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Did the Spanish Armada delay Plymouth Rock by 100 years?


Here's my idea: Spanish naval strength made it prohibitively difficult for competing countries to establish colonies in the Americas. Thus, it wasn't until the 1588 defeat that large scale civilian settlements by other European nations became possible.

Was the Armada catastrophe a necessary precondition for Plymouth Rock some 30 years later? Is it true that other countries were limited to trading, raiding or at best a few fortified strongholds in the Americas due to Spanish naval power? Was there a marked change in the nature of colonization in the decades after the defeat?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Last edited by Sightreader; December 12th, 2012 at 10:04 PM.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:05 AM   #2
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The Armada was a defeat, not a catastrophe. Spain continued to prepare armadas against England and Ireland through the 1590s. Those were mostly defeated by weather, as was 1588's (with help from the RN and friends).

Spain also remained a naval power at least through the 1630s. This was especially true of the Armada of Flanders which raised hell with English commerce from the Spanish Low Countries.

English colonial activity dates mostly from 1607 Virginia - after peace was made with Spain in 1604. The colonial ventures were not state sponsored, but were largely private ventures with no large military presence and little support from England. The Virginia Company had royal approval, but that was all.

The "Pilgrims" had first crossed over to the Low Countries to find a place among co-religionists. As the Twelve Year Truce between the Dutch and Spain was going to end in 1621, the Plymouth immigrants returned to England and prepared to leave for the New World. If anything, Spanish war making caused Plymouth Rock in 1620 instead of delaying it. I am not sure where the "100 years" fits in.

As far as other maritime nations, French activity in Florida had been wiped out by the Spaniards sometime in the 1560s(?). The French then appeared in Canada in 1609.

You often wonder what any of those people saw in an enormous continent covered in forest and populated by fierce natives. There was no silver and gold, and no Northwest Passage to the East.

Last edited by pikeshot1600; December 13th, 2012 at 05:26 AM.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 09:16 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sightreader View Post
Here's my idea: Spanish naval strength made it prohibitively difficult for competing countries to establish colonies in the Americas. Thus, it wasn't until the 1588 defeat that large scale civilian settlements by other European nations became possible.

Was the Armada catastrophe a necessary precondition for Plymouth Rock some 30 years later? Is it true that other countries were limited to trading, raiding or at best a few fortified strongholds in the Americas due to Spanish naval power? Was there a marked change in the nature of colonization in the decades after the defeat?

Thanks for your thoughts!
Part of the reason for British colonies over here was to have a presence here while the Spanish influence was still viewed as a threat. That's one of the reasons that the Jamestown colony settled in a backwater on the Chesapeake...out of sight from the ocean, but here nevertheless. Shallow water and extensive salt marshes in the bay also made a big naval invasion difficult and created a British beachhead.

The Armada DID probably seal the fate of the earlier British colony on what is now Roanoke Island in the North Carolina outer banks. The poorly thought out Raleigh colony was in desperate need of more people and supplies, but the next voyage from England was delayed by 2 years due to the commandeering of ships in England in preparation for the Armada event. By the time a relief mission got to Roanoke, the colonists were gone and the carefully maintained "Lost Colony Mystery" (keeping a mystery there is vital to tourism) was begun.

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Old December 13th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #4

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...You often wonder what any of those people saw in an enormous continent covered in forest and populated by fierce natives. There was no silver and gold, and no Northwest Passage to the East.
They saw wide open spaces, away from the overcrowding, famine, pestilence, and religious intolerance of Europe. A place to bring their families and start a new life.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #5

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Spains main interests were Mexico, Peru and Bolivia which back then was part of Peru. Those three places supplied 85% of the worlds silver. So even though the Spanish might not have wanted any other foreign nation in the region to be called Virginia, they most likely did not consider it a major security issue. Afterall, there were no spanish settlements there. And there seemed to be no gold in Virginia while there seem to be plenty of hostile natives.

If the Spanish had had a settlement there then they might have tried to wipeout any other european settlement like they did to the French in Florida.
French Florida
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Old December 13th, 2012, 12:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sightreader View Post
Here's my idea: Spanish naval strength made it prohibitively difficult for competing countries to establish colonies in the Americas. Thus, it wasn't until the 1588 defeat that large scale civilian settlements by other European nations became possible.

Was the Armada catastrophe a necessary precondition for Plymouth Rock some 30 years later? Is it true that other countries were limited to trading, raiding or at best a few fortified strongholds in the Americas due to Spanish naval power? Was there a marked change in the nature of colonization in the decades after the defeat?

Thanks for your thoughts!
Welcome to Historum, Sightreader.

AFAIK the Spanish presence elsewhere in the New World was not any relevant factor for the Pilgrim's voyage.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 12:40 PM   #7

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Welcome to Historum, Sightreader.

AFAIK the Spanish presence elsewhere in the New World was not any relevant factor for the Pilgrim's voyage.
Unless you qualify Spanish spies in Virginia as intervention.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #8

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and religious intolerance of Europe. .
The "Pilgrims" were not interested in religious tolerance, they were going to America for the right to practice their own religious intolerance.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 12:48 PM   #9
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Unless you qualify Spanish spies in Virginia as intervention.
Could you please elaborate?
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Old December 13th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #10

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The "Pilgrims" were not interested in religious tolerance, they were going to America for the right to practice their own religious intolerance.
ah yes, the good old days. We brought real fire and brimstone down on their quaker butts.
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