If the Armada had landed: A reappraisal of England's defences in 1588

Neil Younger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 stands as one of the greatest triumphs of Elizabeth I's reign, but, the success of the navy notwithstanding, received wisdom presents the land defences as woefully inadequate. This article shows that the existing picture of the English preparations is flawed in several ways and that they were better organized, more efficient and more willing than has been recognized. The privy council was called upon to deploy limited forces to defend a long coastline against an unpredictable attacker, and the evidence shows that they contrived to maximize the effectiveness of the available resources whilst balancing the calls of military practicality, financial necessity and political constraints. An assessment is also made of the response from the counties, using the mobilization as a test case of the structures put in place by the Elizabethan regime to deal with such an emergency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-354
Number of pages27
Issue number311
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


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