Printed: 2003

Publisher: Chatto & Windus. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 25 × 29 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 25 x 29 x 3

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feel and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available

While Henry VIII had launched the Royal Navy, his successors King Edward VI and Queen Mary, had ignored it and it was little more than a system of coastal defence. Elizabeth made naval strength a high priority. She risked war with Spain by supporting the “Sea Dogs,” such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake, who preyed on the Spanish merchant ships carrying gold and silver from the New World.

A fleet review on Elizabeth I’s accession in 1559 showed the navy to consist of 39 ships, and there were plans to build another 30, to be grouped into five categories (a foreshadowing of the rating system). Elizabeth kept the navy at a constant expenditure for the next 20 years and maintained a steady construction rate.

By the 1580s, tensions with Spain had reached the breaking point, exacerbated by Elizabeth’s support for the privateering expeditions of Hawkins, Drake, and others, and capped by the Cadiz raid of 1587, in which Drake destroyed dozens of Spanish ships. In 1588, Philip II of Spain launched the Spanish Armada against England, but after a running battle lasting over a week, the Armada was scattered and limped home. These famous battles were early actions in the long and costly Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604.

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