The 1588 Defeat of the Spanish Armada

Every once in a while you have a teacher and subject that makes school interesting. History is one of my favorite subjects, and this battle played a crucial role in the shaping of the American colonies.

In the year 1588 A.D. a battle between two world powers (England and Spain) ensued that would determine the fate of Protestantism in the western world. The Spanish Armada was one of the greatest naval forces the world had ever seen, it “consisted of 130 warships carrying 2,431 cannon and 22,000 sailors and soldiers,” (Taylor, 65). The Armada vastly outnumbered the weaker, smaller English Navy. “The English warships were fewer and smaller but also faster, more mobile, and mounted with longer-range cannon,” (Taylor, 65). Philip II, King of Spain from 1556-1598, believed that he was doing God’s will of cleansing England of Protestantism. He mentions to one of his commanders, “ You are engaged in God’s service and in mine – which is the same thing,” (Taylor, 64). In England, the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth I held the throne, and with a much inferior navy compared to the Spanish, overseas colonization was far too costly, therefore not deemed a priority. “Instead… the crown subcontracted colonization by issuing licenses and monopolies to private adventurers…” (Taylor, 118). One such adventurer was Sir Francis Drake, who would play a vital role in “the fight for Protestantism.”

Sir Francis Drake, who was essentially a pirate, had convinced the crown and other investors that “hee that commaunds the sea, commaunds the trade, and hee that is Lord of the Trade of the world is lord of the wealth of the worlde,” (Taylor, 119). Having an approval to pirate the seas and raid the Spanish, Drake “ravaged the Caribbean coast…” (Taylor, 65) With his colonies being terrorized, his religion being undermined and Protestants rebelling in northern continental Europe, Philip II was furious. To show his dominance and the power he received from God himself, the Spanish King sent his Armada to conquer the English and finally put a stop to the Protestant heresy once and for all.

The great battle was the deciding factor in whether England and her colonies would have the freedom to choose their religion, or if there would be (as had been the case in the Netherlands) a mass slaughtering of the Protestants. Because the English ships were more maneuverable, and they had the home advantage the English prevailed. “They broke up the Armada, which in retreat homeward was battered by storms in the North Sea and Irish Sea that destroyed or crippled most of the Spanish vessels,” (Taylor, 65).

“The rival nations (the French, Dutch, and English) gradually recognized that raiding was only a hit-or-miss means to capture the benefits of overseas empire… the European rivals needed their own colonies,” (Taylor, 66). In 1620, just thirty-two years after the sinking of the Armada, the Puritans in England leave for Massachusetts Bay; founding cities such as Boston, Salem, Plymouth, and others. Had they not left to start theses cities, had King James I not taken over Elizabeth I’s throne, had the “Virgin Queen” not defeated the Armada, America today would not be the free state and would have been shaped very differently.


Source and Recommendations:

Alan Taylor’s American Colonies: The Settling of North America Vol. 1

An interesting strategical documentary on how the battle was won.

Or, for a fantastic dramatization of the battle, Elizabeth – The Golden Age is a great movie.




Week 3 of Mere Christianity

Book 4

            Lewis begins this book describing two different terms, making and begetting. He says that those who are made have a biological life and are later given a spiritual life by the only one who has that sort of life, God himself. The Bios life, as Lewis calls it, is “a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe” (or Spiritual life.) Because we were made with free will and choose to deny God, it is now impossible in order to become Sons of God on our own. Instead, we must embrace the death of this life and the beginning of a new and eternal life.

            When God made Adam, He made him in the likeness of Himself. This is different than begetting. The only begotten Son of God is Jesus. If God made man then man cannot be a god of any sort (a point that Lewis makes then later overlooks). An image Lewis paints of this is like a man sculpting a statue. The statue has all the resemblance of a man, but absolutely no ability to think or move or reason on it’s own.

So, at one point in history man had the ability to be sons of God, they had a spiritual life. A brief period of time man was in perfect communion with God, and his wife for that matter. Now, we have lost the spiritual life and it only makes sense that we would need the one who has Zoe to cross over into the Bios. In fact it is the only thing that would make sense. What Jesus came into the world to do was not show us how to be more religious or how to re-awaken our sleeping spiritual life. He came to take what was dead and make it alive. Just as a person who has drowned cannot administer his or her own CPR, so is people who are spiritually dead cannot on their own resurrect themselves. They must be born again.

Now that Book 4 is done and I reflect back I don’t remember seeing any direct quotes from the Bible (probably because he didn’t believe in the inerrancy of scripture). This is what I believe to be one of Lewis’ biggest flaws and greatest attributes. It is one of his great attributes because it shows that Christianity can be reasoned even in common knowledge of reality. But, it is one of his greatest flaws because instead of making a biblical defense for Jesus, he subjects himself to his own opinions of what Christianity truly is (which is why we must believe in and use the Bible).

 Also looking back I don’t think it wise that anyone should attempt to explain something as complex as Christianity without addressing the controversies. Anything that has been debated amongst Christians has been debated for a good reason. He spoke quite a bit about free will and never such as mentions predestination or God’s elect, which are actual terms used in the Bible. That has been one of the greatest debates amongst Christians for the last few centuries.

 All of that being said I do love Lewis. Despite the disagreement I would have with him on nearly every point of theology, he reads and understands scripture in an amazing way. And his understanding of joy that comes from faith in Christ is amazing.