Cádiz re­vis­ited

THE RAID OF 1596 WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME THE SPAN­ISH PORT HAD AT­TRACTED THE AT­TEN­TION OF ENG­LAND

History of War - - ELIZABETHAN WARS -

Cádiz had been at­tacked by an English force ear­lier in the war, when Sir Fran­cis Drake had led an ex­pe­di­tion in 1587, at­tempt­ing to prevent the build-up of an in­va­sion fleet. The raid was a stun­ning suc­cess, with plans for the ar­mada pushed back a year. Drake’s raid was no­table for the de­ci­sive­ness of his ac­tions. Upon reach­ing Cádiz he launched an as­sault im­me­di­ately, quickly sail­ing his ves­sels into the har­bour and caus­ing panic among the Span­ish de­fend­ers. Only one of his ships was lost, while more than 30 Span­ish ves­sels were de­stroyed.

De­spite the suc­cess of the raid, Drake him­self ac­cepted that he had done noth­ing but post­pone the plans of Philip II, re­fer­ring to the ac­tion as merely “singe­ing the King of Spain’s beard”.

The fi­nan­cial dam­age in­flicted in 1596 was more sub­stan­tial and pushed the Span­ish towards one of their reg­u­lar dec­la­ra­tions of bank­ruptcy. How­ever, as in Drake’s raid, the 1596 ex­pe­di­tion was not enough to halt Span­ish plans for an ar­mada. A sec­ond mighty fleet of ships was ready to at­tempt an in­va­sion of Eng­land just four months later, but was de­stroyed by au­tum­nal storms.

Sir Fran­cis Drake, ar­chi­tect of the dev­as­tat­ing raid on Cádiz in 1587

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