The Battle Of The Spanish Armada Essay — страница 5

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even at the risk of a very long voyage in high latitudes.” The Armada was in no condition to turn back and fight its way through the Channel. Besides, the wind was still taking it north. They decided to sail around Scotland and southward in the Atlantic, keeping well away from Ireland, back to Spain. The English, having given up the chase, sent two pinnaces to trail the Armada as far as the Orkneys. Then they headed south. The veteran Captain Thomas Fenner of the Non Pareil wrote predicting the fate of the Armada. As he wrote, another terrible storm arose. Spanish accounts of this storm describe the scattering of the fleet. But the Armada held on course. On August 19, in a moderate wind, they sailed safely through the Fair Isle channel between Shetland and the Orkneys, where

Scottish fishermen fish. Food was running out. Only a little slimy green water was left in the unseasoned wooden casks. Most of the biscuits, salt beef, and salt fish had gone bad. Medina had to ration food, giving each man a daily allowance of eight ounces of a biscuit, and a pint of half wine/half water. Horses and mules were thrown overboard. Of the 130 ships that had set sail from Lisbon, eight great ships had been sunk. Many pinnaces and small craft had been swept way. Half the remaining ships needed drastic repairs. (Howarth 234) Off the Orkneys, Medina sent a message to the King to say that the Armada was still together, and capable of getting back to Spain, although, besides the wounded, there were 3,000 sick on board. But soon the moderate weather changed and in the

terrible seas off Cape Wrath, the Armada began to break up. In gale force winds, the fleet was swept backward and forward around the north of Scotland, facing a fiercer enemy than the English: the wild sea. The groaning, leaking ships were kept afloat by tired, hungry men working non-stop at the pumps. Scurvy, dysentery, and fever were rife. Many ships sought land, looking for food and water. Because they had abandoned their sea anchors at Calais and had only small anchors, they were often driven onto the rocks. As the weather worsened, ships were swept away from the main body of the fleet. Many sank with all hands. (Howarth 245) Four great ships were blown back toward Shetland. The Castello Negro was never seen again. On September 1, the Barca de Amburg fired a gun to signal she

was sinking. The Grand Gonfon took off her crew, many of them wounded and dying, but was herself wrecked off Fair Isle a month later. All her 300 crew were saved, though many died afterward of hunger and fever. On September 17, the Trinidad Valencera struck a reef off northeast Ireland. Of the 450 men aboard, some of whom had been rescued from other ships, only 32 reached France. The rest had been slaughtered, or died of exposure or fever. (Marx 224-226) On about September 18, one of the worst storms hit the Atlantic. The Rata Santa Maria Encoronada and the Duquesa Santa Ana took refuge in Blacksod Bay, County Mayo, Ireland. Battles and the beatings of storms shook the Rata, but worst of all, she too had lost her sea anchors. In the rising wind and tide she dragged her remaining

anchor and grounded on the shelving beach. Her commander, Don Alonso de Leyva, transferred his men to the Santa Ana. This was a tremendous feat, as the Santa Ana was anchored in another part of the bay and de Leyva had to march his men miles across a bleak headland through bogs and across rivers. The heavily laden ship set sail for Scotland, but was driven on the rocks at Loughros More in the county Donegal. With great courage de Leyva, who had broken his leg, got his crew ashore. They had news that three Spanish ships were sheltering in the harbor of Killybegs. So again, they set out across the mountains. At Killybegs they discovered that two of the ships were wrecked. Thi rteen hundred men crammed onto the Girona and again set sail for Scotland. In the night the wind changed.

The Girona hit a reef near the Giant’s Causeway. Less than ten men survived; everyone else was drowned, including de Leyva who had led his men so bravely. (Walker 176) When Philip was told the dreadful news about his splendid ships, he said, “I sent them to fight against men, not storms.” Regardless of cost, he set about building better ships and making arms that were more powerful to overcome the English. Elizabeth’s treasury was almost empty, but, with money collected from the City of London and from her courtiers, she sent a fleet of 126 ships, commanded by Drake, to attack the remains of the Armada in Santander. But Drake and his captains wanted booty as well as naval victory and sailed to Corunna, hoping to attack Lisbon. Sickness broke out among the crews, and bad