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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:38 AM   #1

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Could the Spanish have subdued England in 1588


The Spanish Armada failed in its objective, but could it have succeded. Would the Scots, Dutch and French have stood idly by.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:43 AM   #2

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Yes, I think it could have succeeded. The Dutch were in no position to intervene even if they had wanted to, and I can't see why the Scots or French would have wanted to.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:51 AM   #3

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Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Yes, I think it could have succeeded. The Dutch were in no position to intervene even if they had wanted to, and I can't see why the Scots or French would have wanted to.

The scots would have hardly welcomed a Catholic Spanish England as its neighbour, and The French might have feared the expansion of the Spanish empire which had them nigh on encircled. A passified England could also haver been used as a launch pad to crush the Dutch rebellion and complete the Spanish encirclement of France.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:58 AM   #4

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Yes, I appreciate that, but surely the Scots would not have wished to get involved in a conflict with a great power, and it would have been difficult for the French to make any effective response if the Spanish had managed to gain control of England. The fate of the Armada itself shows how difficult it was for a Continental power to extend its power to this island.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 05:10 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Yes, I appreciate that, but surely the Scots would not have wished to get involved in a conflict with a great power, and it would have been difficult for the French to make any effective response if the Spanish had managed to gain control of England. The fate of the Armada itself shows how difficult it was for a Continental power to extend its power to this island.
The French could have allied themselves with the Dutch and cut off supplies, reinforcements and communications between Parma`s army and Spain. As for the Scots, who knows. Sympathy and support for English protestant rebels perhaps.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #6

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The Spanish had a total of 50,000 troops between those on the Armada and those in Parma's army and most were professional soldiers against Dudley's 4000 troops at Tilbury. However, Parma's army were suffering a dose of something or other and could only muster 16,000 men at Calais when the Armada eventually appeared in the channel--so a maximum of 36,000 plus sailors.
They may well have done a lot of damage had they been able to land in the Thames estuary-the Spanish had been successful during the Dutch revolt and English troops were not exactly covered with glory or known for military brilliance at the time (Dudley failing in the Netherlands and Essex failing in Ireland).
A capture of London would have been possible and would have been a war-winner as London was where the money was at which time one suspects that a lot of Protestants would have become enthusiastic Catholics.
Then again, the English have never like foreigners much.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funakison View Post
The scots would have hardly welcomed a Catholic Spanish England as its neighbour, and The French might have feared the expansion of the Spanish empire which had them nigh on encircled. A passified England could also haver been used as a launch pad to crush the Dutch rebellion and complete the Spanish encirclement of France.
Why would the Scots not welcomed a Catholic Spanish England? I know that Scotland was historically allied to France.

Some Scots fought for a Catholic ruler as late as 1745.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 08:11 AM   #8
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Why would the Scots not welcomed a Catholic Spanish England? I know that Scotland was historically allied to France.

Some Scots fought for a Catholic ruler as late as 1745.
The Scots formally broke with the Papacy (by Parliamentary act) in 1560, with their own "Kirk" and their own Confession. Spanish Catholic influence in England would have been no more welcome (or probably even less welcome) than French Catholic influence at the Scottish Courts of Mary of Guise, or of Mary Queen of Scots.

This was still a time when political allegiance was most often determined by religious confession. The Scottish elites had become overwhelmingly Protestant. They sympathized with, and aligned politically with, the Dutch Republic, and the Protestant monarchs of Denmark, Sweden and even England, an old enemy.

IIRC, Catholic Scots were more likely Highland Scots rather than those in other locales. The Highlands were where much of the Jacobite support came from in the 18th century "risings." (Not all...there were Catholics elsewhere in Scotland, but Scottish Presbyterians played the political tune.)
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Old December 10th, 2012, 08:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
The Spanish had a total of 50,000 troops between those on the Armada and those in Parma's army and most were professional soldiers against Dudley's 4000 troops at Tilbury. However, Parma's army were suffering a dose of something or other and could only muster 16,000 men at Calais when the Armada eventually appeared in the channel--so a maximum of 36,000 plus sailors.
They may well have done a lot of damage had they been able to land in the Thames estuary-the Spanish had been successful during the Dutch revolt and English troops were not exactly covered with glory or known for military brilliance at the time (Dudley failing in the Netherlands and Essex failing in Ireland).
A capture of London would have been possible and would have been a war-winner as London was where the money was at which time one suspects that a lot of Protestants would have become enthusiastic Catholics.
Then again, the English have never like foreigners much.
Militarily, a reinforced Army of Flanders against a relatve handful of "Trained Bands" would not have been a pretty sight. The Dutch could resist Spain at the time in fortified towns and behind waterways that were difficult to cross. The English, not so much except for the Channel.

England's cadre of experienced soldiers (in the Low Countries) produced some good generals ongoing, but the number of troops would have been overwhelmed by 50,000 (or fewer) professionals.

But then, there was the Navy, the weather, and God IS an Englishman.

Had the AoF made it to London, well, religious affiliation tends to be strong - when you are in the vast majority, or when it is adviseable or profitable to change your Confession.

Last edited by pikeshot1600; December 10th, 2012 at 08:58 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 09:29 AM   #10

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Very Interesting Posts.

Militarily, the Spanish would have been successful had they invaded, but Elizabeth would have escaped to begin a guerilla war with those whose protestantism was staunch enough to continue the fight.
That England had been invaded by a foreign power may have seen a few Catholic patriots take up arms, however, the previously persecuted English Catholics would have shown themselves to the Spanish and England may well have started its own civil war, the Northern Rebellion of the previous decade shows that this was possible.
How that would have played out is real speculative history....
France would not have involved itself, content to watch Spain fight wars of attrition in both Flanders and England, and because of the ongoing wars in Flanders, the Dutch could not intervene, even if they wanted to. The Scots may have gone to England's aid (James VI had been offered the English crown by then and the growing protestantism of Knox, which had been aided by the English, would be be a persuasive force to go to war).
So in the end, Spain may have subdued England, but using what eventually happened in Flanders as an example, it would have been a huge undertaking and perhaps one too costly.
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