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Forum LockedThe Anglo-Spanish War

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    Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 12:13
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

 
Some points must be brought forth here so as to emphasize how ridiculous claims can become and even invade the Internet. Here is how an enterprising Anglo, writing in Spanish for Wiki, presents events of 1596 while writing on the 1588 Armada:
Los ingleses tomaron inmediatamente la ofensiva. Desembarcaron en las costas de España (1592), y en 1596 se apoderaron de Cádiz y de Sevilla.
Wrong again and in a very elementary checkable way. Charles Seignobos was no Anglo but a very well-known French historian.
 
Just google on his name. There's lots of references.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 15:25
Tiresome chap, are you not gcl? By "Anglo", I meant the enterprising editor who simply spliced in the text in the various language versions of Wiki since Seignobos has been dead since 1942, and the point was a simple one: the supposed capture of Seville by the English, a blatant error if ever there was one. Further the distinction between a naval galleon and a converted merchantman is highly pertinent. Now, you've taken it one chauvinistic step further and said "after all this is an English language forum". Well, you can make bloopers in any language and your disparagement of the origins of the ships is more than picayune, since the relevant fact can not be denied unless you claim greater knowledge than the relevant documents that you can access through the Internet in the Archivo General de Indias and Simancas.  Charles Seignobos was an interesting French historian, a Protestant, whose Positivist tenor led to some amazing assertions. The text in question derives from his multivolume Universal History, which was given a Spanish edition in 1921 and is in the public domain, therefore the reason for its reproduction but such does not make it a primary reference or even a reliable secondary text. Yet, you are ready to disparage someone who does know his maritime accounts (the provenance of the galleons) for the sake of an outdated general narrative that has little standing. Perhaps you would like Fernand Braudel's opinion on Seignobos as historian?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HaloChanter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 15:38
It is really getting tiresome when certain people take themselves as proclaimed experts and write nonsense just to show how erudite they are in contrast to others.
 
- Hahaha. Sorry.. coming from drgonzaga, this is funny.
Kind regards,

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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 16:15
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

Tiresome chap, are you not gcl?
I may be tiresome but you were wrong.
 
By "Anglo", I meant the enterprising editor who simply spliced in the text in the various language versions of Wiki since Seignobos has been dead since 1942, and the point was a simple one: the supposed capture of Seville by the English, a blatant error if ever there was one.
You implied the text was written by an 'Anglo'. Obviously the page was not created by Seignobos, but the words, albeit translated, are his.
Further the distinction between a naval galleon and a converted merchantman is highly pertinent. Now, you've taken it one chauvinistic step further and said "after all this is an English language forum".
That's not chauvinistic, nor was it my idea. It was the free choice of the organisers well before I joined to make it the standard language, and I think pretty well everyone accepts it.
 
If you don't like it, then see what support you can get for changing it.
 
Meanwhile, face up to it, you're going to be looking at English translations a lot.
 
 Well, you can make bloopers in any language and your disparagement of the origins of the ships is more than picayune, since the relevant fact can not be denied unless you claim greater knowledge than the relevant documents that you can access through the Internet in the Archivo General de Indias and Simancas
That makes as much sense as me telling you to look it up in the archives of the Imperial War Museum or the Gunroom of the Royal Naval College.
 
What I asked for was a list of what you considered the warships that were part of the armada, all of whom according to you made it back to Spain, so I could try and check it out. I note I didn't get it. If that list is included in the archives at Seville or Simancas then quote it.
 
I know what follows. You just looked it up. But you made the blatant mistake of calling him an Anglo.
Charles Seignobos was an interesting French historian, a Protestant, whose Positivist tenor led to some amazing assertions. The text in question derives from his multivolume Universal History, which was given a Spanish edition in 1921 and is in the public domain, therefore the reason for its reproduction but such does not make it a primary reference or even a reliable secondary text. Yet, you are ready to disparage someone who does know his maritime accounts (the provenance of the galleons) for the sake of an outdated general narrative that has little standing. Perhaps you would like Fernand Braudel's opinion on Seignobos as historian?
 
If it's relevant to whether the 1588 armada represented a defeat for Spain or not (since the root here is stll your claim that it iddn't) then fine, quote away. You're the one who brought him into the discussion, not me.
 
By 'has little standing' you mean he disagrees with you?
 
Incidentally, to quote an admittedly English (why incidentally do you say 'Anglo'? Anglo is a prefix used to indicate a partial English relatonship.) historian writing in a context that one might expect to be chauvinistic: "It was unseasonable weather off the Scottish and Irish coasts, not the English, that turned Philip II's great enterprise from failure to catastrophe."[1]
 
That's the mainstream historical view even in "Anglo" circles. But if the armada had not already been defeated, and turned tail after losing (most of) their anchors, then the storms would not have turned the failure to catastrophe. 
 
[1] Colin Martin in Great Battles of the Royal Navy, ed. Eric Grove. As I said, a context that you would expect to be chauvinistic if anything, not emphasise the acts of God rather than the exploits of the English.


Edited by gcle2003 - 02-Jan-2008 at 16:16
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2008 at 11:27
 
Originally posted by gcle2003

 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

 
Some points must be brought forth here so as to emphasize how ridiculous claims can become and even invade the Internet. Here is how an enterprising Anglo, writing in Spanish for Wiki, presents events of 1596 while writing on the 1588 Armada:
Los ingleses tomaron inmediatamente la ofensiva. Desembarcaron en las costas de España (1592), y en 1596 se apoderaron de Cádiz y de Sevilla.
 
 
As a matter of interest, does anyone actually know what Seignobos actually wrote here (i.e. the French original)? I'd like to have the original text in fact, but I've been unable to find it on the web.
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 03-Jan-2008 at 11:27
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jan-2008 at 14:37
Originally posted by drgonzaga

Further the distinction between a naval galleon and a converted merchantman is highly pertinent. 
  


There was no real distinction between the two until after 1588 when the Spanish started constructing purpose built warships to take on the English.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jan-2008 at 14:49
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

Challenger,  
The most cherished English goals were to seize Panama to disrupt the flow of silver from Peru, and/or to intercept the flota to Spain.  Neither ever occurred, because England's resources were not sufficient to do either.
 
    


No, but  English piracy in the Caribbean and along the coasts of Spain all but destroyed the Spanish mercantile fleet which had important knock on effects.  


Edited by Challenger2 - 07-Jan-2008 at 14:56
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jan-2008 at 14:59
Can someone clarify this. I've read the fleet burned at Cadiz was the outward bound Flota along with other merchantmen. Why would these be carrying gold/treasure? Sounds a bit like "Coals to Newcastle" or " fridges to Eskimos"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jan-2008 at 19:29
I'm not sure if you're referring to Drake's raid in 1587 or Howard's in 1596.
 
In 1587 Drake destroyed 24 ships in the three-day occupation of the harbour April 19-21. I'm not sure what cargoes they were carrying, but the eastbound flota was still at sea. After the raid Drake temporarily took over the castle at cape Sagres, laying up there until on May 31 he sailed in search of the flota. His ships were scattered by a storm, but so were the Spanish/Portuguese, and he managed to take the Portuguese carrack Sao Felipe. That one ship however carried treasure officially valued at £140,000 (6-12 years pay for a ship's captain at the time) in London, though there was heavy personal looting.
 
In 1596 Howard's fleet (with Essex commanding land forces) attacked Cadiz on June 21. The attack was successful but the aftermath badly organised, and they allowed the outward-bound Spanish fleet to be set alight by their crews, stopping the English from taking the cargoes.
 
According to a Spanish report, which Rodger points out is 'hard to swallow', Howard sailed off taking two new captured warships, 1200 guns and booty worth 20 million ducats. Of the last, only £12,838 worth was recovered by the crown in London, but again a lot of private looting went on too.
 
Thirteeen warships were destroyed in the raid, plus eleven 'Indies' merchant ships and smaller vessels. The list of the loot includes plate and coin. pearls, mercury, silk, sugar, hides and bells.
 
(A pound sterling was about equal to ten ducats or guilders.)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 11:01
Originally posted by gcle2003

I'm not sure if you're referring to Drake's raid in 1587 or Howard's in 1596.
 
In 1587 Drake destroyed 24 ships in the three-day occupation of the harbour April 19-21. I'm not sure what cargoes they were carrying, but the eastbound flota was still at sea. After the raid Drake temporarily took over the castle at cape Sagres, laying up there until on May 31 he sailed in search of the flota. His ships were scattered by a storm, but so were the Spanish/Portuguese, and he managed to take the Portuguese carrack Sao Felipe. That one ship however carried treasure officially valued at £140,000 (6-12 years pay for a ship's captain at the time) in London, though there was heavy personal looting.
 
In 1596 Howard's fleet (with Essex commanding land forces) attacked Cadiz on June 21. The attack was successful but the aftermath badly organised, and they allowed the outward-bound Spanish fleet to be set alight by their crews, stopping the English from taking the cargoes.
 
According to a Spanish report, which Rodger points out is 'hard to swallow', Howard sailed off taking two new captured warships, 1200 guns and booty worth 20 million ducats. Of the last, only £12,838 worth was recovered by the crown in London, but again a lot of private looting went on too.
 
Thirteeen warships were destroyed in the raid, plus eleven 'Indies' merchant ships and smaller vessels. The list of the loot includes plate and coin. pearls, mercury, silk, sugar, hides and bells.
 
(A pound sterling was about equal to ten ducats or guilders.)


Thanks for the clarification. I was referring to the 1596 raid.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 14:36
The English experiences at Cadiz illustrate how hard it is to duplicate successes.  The 1587 raid was a thunderbolt and achieved substantial success - especially in terms of the known plans for the Armada.  The 1596 raid was a qualified success, but actually achieved little of any lasting advantage.  Of course the 1625 expedition was a complete failure.
 
Essex had in mind seizing and holding a port city to force Spain to concentrate forces there.  This could take pressure off England and the Dutch and French, and basing maritime forces there could obstruct Spanish commerce and threaten the flota.  It was a grand design, but here again England didn't have the resources to pull it off.
 
The 1596 Cadiz expedition was funded substantially with private money (the queen being both financially strapped and reluctant to take the risk), and those worthies were very interested in private returns.  gcle explains what happened to most of the loot from that expedition.  Essex's plans went down the drain, but the other leaders in the expedition may have seen how risky and how unlikely of success those plans were.
 
When one thinks about the Essex plan, the Spanish had closer positions to England from northern Iberian harbors and yards than England had to Cadiz.  They also were attempting to use the harbors of Brittany to threaten English commerce and launch some final attack on England.  Essex felt that holding an important port would be facilitated by being able to reprovision it from the sea.  That would be OK if the opponent had no capability to interdict your ships.  Spain always had such capability, and those ships would be easier to locate than the flota. 
 
With all the wandering around looking for the flota both in 1596, and then in 1597, the southeast coast of England was vulnerable to Spain's "armadas" of those years.  The season was advanced in both years, and a good number of royal ships had been put up for the winter to save money.  That is not a good indicator of war time capability.
 
As previously noted, in both cases the weather saved the day as it substantially did in 1588.  Maybe God really was an Englishman in those days.
 
 
   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 16:25
In those days? Big%20smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 16:48
The myths on Drake and his exploits die hard despite all attempts to place them in context [and in a way reflect the propaganda associated with a certain contemporary gentleman Usama ibn Ladin]. Here is the narrative from the Duke of Medina Sidonia:
 

Como escribí a V. M. en los avisos que de aqui han salido, el haber llegado Francisco Draque a la bahía de Cádiz a los 29 del mes pasado, con 27 navíos y quemado y echado a fondo en aquella bahía, 23, y que, al no hallarse las galeras de España a la sazón en la dicha bahía hubiera sin duda saqueado la ciudad facilísimamente, por no haber resistencia en ella, después de haber hecho vela a los 2 de éste, no se tuvo nueva de la Armada, creyéndose que iba camino de las Indias, ha parecido al contrario; pues, a los 5 de éste, se descubrió sobre el Cabo de San Vicente, que se ha detenido allí de una vuelta y otra, hasta que, a los 12, vino a surgir a la bahía de Lagos, donde aún queda al presente. Y puédese entender que uno de sus intentos, sea estorbar e impedir el paso de las naves que aquí se cargan de bastimentos para el Armada de Lisboa, y de las demás naos en el paraje del Cabo de San Vicente. Y aunque, de allí, podría caminar la vuelta de las Indias, todavía ha estado bien que se detenga, para que estén avisadas como se ha hecho con los navíos que de aquí han partido. Y éste, lleva el triplicado y los demás despachos de S. M.; y no tengo que añadir a ésto, pues lo que es el hallarse V. M. prevenido y presto para lo que se pueda ofrecer, entiendo lo habrá hecho con la puntualidad, cuidado y diligencia que acostumbra; y así lo encargo de nuevo; pues, si ya ese Corsario no fuese ahora por allá, se podrá creer que lo haga después de salidos los galeones de esa costa, pues quedará tan sola y desabrigada; aunque a ésto manda S. M. que se atienda de manera que brevemente llegará por allí Armada que asegure mucho esas costas y ande de

Manuscript%20dispatch%20of%20the%20Duke%20Medina%20Sidonia%20to%20the%20West%20Indies%20Governors,%201587,%20warning%20them%20that%20Drake%20was%20on%20the%20warpath%20again.%20%5b5%5d%20%28Continued%20on%20the%20next%20page.%29
 Manuscript%20dispatch%20of%20the%20Duke%20Medina%20Sidonia%20to%20the%20West%20Indies%20Governors,%201587,%20warning%20them%20that%20Drake%20was%20on%20the%20warpath%20again.%20%5b5%5d%20%28Continued%20on%20the%20next%20page.%29
Dispatch of the Duke Medina Sidonia to the Crown on 4 May 1587,  with copies forwarded to colonial officials regarding Drake's presence at sea. 

The%20list%20of%20officials%20to%20whom%20Medina%20Sidonias%20warning%20was%20to%20be%20sent.%20%5b5%5d%20 
The appended listing of secretarial copies.

ordinario en ellas. De que me ha parecido avisar a V. M. en ésta, y de la Relación del Armada con que entró Francisco Draque en Cádiz; que, aunque son muchos los navíos, sólo 5 o 6 son grandes, como de la misma relación se entenderá, a que me remito.

A la Armada de Lisboa, se dá mucha priesa; y a la que de aquí se ha de juntar. Encamine Nuestro Señor los buenos sucesos al fin y intento que se desea, pues es y se pretende para tanto servicio suyo que guarde a v. m.

En Sanlúcar,    Mayo de 1587.

 

TRANS:

As I wrote to Y[our] M[ajesty] in the dispatches that have been sent from here, on Francis Drake  having arrived in the Bay of Cadiz on the 29th of the last month with 27 vessels, and burned or sent to the bottom 23, and that because of the season the galleys of Spain were not in the said harbor he could have without doubt sacked the city easily since it was in no position to mount a resistance, and after having made sail on the 2nd instant, there was no news of this Armada, it being believed on route to the Indies; which now appears wrong for on the 5th instant it was discovered off Cape Saint Vincent, that it remained there cruising the coast until on the 12th it made for the Bay of Lagos where it lies presently. And it may be understood that one of its intentions is to disturb and impede the sailing of vessels from here being loaded with supplies for the Armada of Lisboa, and of the other vessels that employ the anchorage of Cape Saint Vincent. And although from there he could make the run for the Indies, it is well that he has remained there so that they could be notified, as has been done via the vessels that have sailed from here. And these presents carry the triplicate as well as the other dispatches of Your Majesty; and I need not add to them for with regard to matters that would find Your Majesty aware and prepared for whatever might occur I understand such has taken place with the punctuality, care, and diligence that is habit; and thusly I charge it again [to the officials of the Indies]; for if this Corsair does not now head for there, it can be believed he shall do so once the galleons have sailed from that coast; leaving it so alone and unprotected; although as concerns this Your Majesty orders that it be attended to so that briefly there shall arrive there an Armada to secure that coast and patrol it regularly. Of which I have taken note to notify Your Majesty [in this dispatch], and the Account of the Armada with which Francis Drake entered Cadiz, which although its vessels are numerous only 5 or 6 are large as can be gathered from the Account to which I make reference.
 
To the Armada of Lisbon much attention is given, and to the one that should gather here. May Our Lord place on the path of success the desired intentions and end for it is all done in His service. May He safeguard Your Majesty. In San Lucar,      May 1587 
 
There is neither panic nor dread in this accounting and the Avisos were forwarded to the military garrisons of the Indies, to wit the governors of La Habana, Cartagena de las Indias, La Florida (the intrepid Pedro Menéndez Marquez), San Juan de Puerto Rico, the Audiencias of Santo Domingo and Panama, the garrisons at Jamaica and Margarita, and Captain Alvaro Flores de Valdes of the Armada de Barlovento (it is from the pen of this last that we have accountings on Santa Elena--see
 
Now, if one is familiar with the geography of the Bay of Cadiz, one knows that San Lucar lies at the mouth of the Guadalquivir on the Bay of Cadiz, and Drake certainly did not make an attempt there. It should be noted, that in those years Cadiz was a general anchorage rather than the principal commecial entrepot, which still lay up the Guadalquivir at Sevilla. Neither did he attempt a landing at Cadiz but simply assaulted ships at anchorage. Likewise, "Sagres" was not a castle, but a small village aggregate to the old residence of Prince Henry of Portugal, known as the Vila do Infante.
 
As for the exploits of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, his booty--as well as that of Essex--derived from the sacking of Cadiz itself [including the libraries of the Jesuit College and the Bishop of Faro, the former now at Hereford Cathedral and the latter at the Bodleian]. It should be noted that for the 16th century, the principal almacenes and depositos for the Indies trade remained upriver at Sevilla and it was only at a given moment that any significant cargo would be collected in the Bay of Cadiz just prior to the formal sailing of the Flota. This schedule remains enshrined in the famous annual Spring Fair of Sevilla (La Feria).
 
What is striking about the surviving documentation at the AGI and other archives for the years 1587-1607 is the "tracking" of the various English or Dutch expeditions by officialdom which more or less removed the earlier element of surprise. In fact, knowledge on many of these come solely mostly from Spanish sources:
 
 
 TO BE CONTINUED


Edited by drgonzaga - 08-Jan-2008 at 17:11
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 17:08
While on this subject, there is an interesting study on Francis Drake that really puts him in full perspective--Harry Kelsey. Sir Francis Drake: The Queens Pirate. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.
 
Here is a snip from the review the tome received in the New Yorker:
 
Anglophiles may be disappointed to learn that Sir Francis Drake, that paragon of English Protestant gumption, was a thoroughgoing rotter. Drake executed men without good cause, raped and pillaged, tortured prisoners, cheated his partners and crews, and shirked his duties as a naval commander when there was a chance for further plunder. This scrupulously researched and calmly argued book will leave Drake's champions little hope of restoring him to the rosy place in the English pantheon he once occupied: Kelsey's Drake is, alas, all too plausible.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 17:44
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga

The myths on Drake and his exploits die hard despite all attempts to place them in context [and in a way reflect the propaganda associated with a certain contemporary gentleman Usama ibn Ladin].
What on earth has Bin Ladin got to do with it?
 
I don't see anything in what follows to quibble over. Why bother posting the Spanish text?
 
There is neither panic nor dread in this accounting
So?
Did someone say there was?
 
Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham
Why bother with that sort of pontification? 'Howard' would do, it won't confuse anybody.
And at the time he was anyway still Howard of Effingham which he is still better known as (and if anyone thinks that funny, in context so do I Wink).
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 08-Jan-2008 at 17:47
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 22:09
Originally posted by gcle2003

In those days? Big%20smile
 
Well......I get the point.  Wink
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 22:52
Sheesh! Some people are never satisfied! First, translations are demanded and when such are provided there comes a "why bother"! Of course, after going on ad infinitum about the havoc and panic caused by the English as evidence of Spanish decline and weakness, suddenly there is a protest: "Did someone say there was?"
 
Now, as to the juxtaposition of Drake and Usama, I see the ironic is difficult to handle by some.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 13:32
Originally posted by drgonzaga

Anglophiles may be disappointed to learn that Sir Francis Drake, that paragon of English Protestant gumption, was a thoroughgoing rotter. Drake executed men without good cause, raped and pillaged, tortured prisoners, cheated his partners and crews, and shirked his duties as a naval commander when there was a chance for further plunder. This scrupulously researched and calmly argued book will leave Drake's champions little hope of restoring him to the rosy place in the English pantheon he once occupied: Kelsey's Drake is, alas, all too plausible.


And this differs from 16th century pirate [English Spanish, French, Dutch, Moorish, Portuguese etc.]mores, how?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 13:35
Originally posted by drgonzaga

Sheesh! Some people are never satisfied! First, translations are demanded and when such are provided there comes a "why bother"! Of course, after going on ad infinitum about the havoc and panic caused by the English as evidence of Spanish decline and weakness, suddenly there is a protest: "Did someone say there was?"
 
Now, as to the juxtaposition of Drake and Usama, I see the ironic is difficult to handle by some.
 
 


Please, carry on. One satisfied customer right here! Clap My Spanish is nowhere near as good as my French, Latin and Ancient Greek.

I have to say that any official, English or Spanish writing to their monarch in a panicky style would soon be replaced by a more sanguine personality. The king/Queen was normally astute enough to read between the lines of a carefully worded letter.

It's okay, I'm British, I get irony. LOL


Edited by Challenger2 - 09-Jan-2008 at 13:39
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 16:32
Originally posted by Challenger2

Originally posted by drgonzaga

Anglophiles may be disappointed to learn that Sir Francis Drake, that paragon of English Protestant gumption, was a thoroughgoing rotter. Drake executed men without good cause, raped and pillaged, tortured prisoners, cheated his partners and crews, and shirked his duties as a naval commander when there was a chance for further plunder. This scrupulously researched and calmly argued book will leave Drake's champions little hope of restoring him to the rosy place in the English pantheon he once occupied: Kelsey's Drake is, alas, all too plausible.


And this differs from 16th century pirate [English Spanish, French, Dutch, Moorish, Portuguese etc.]mores, how?
 
Well, Challenger, recall that this description is a quote from a reviewer. A pirate is a pirate, but the difference comes from how Drake's piracy is treated in contrast to the others. For example to a 16th century English merchant the mariners of St. Malo were dastardly French brigands assaulting English commerce; however, Drake, in applying the same conduct to Spanish commerce, is praised as an intrepid navigator and defender of English interests. Keep in mind that once the English did have a vested interest in the security of maritime commerce, later emulators of Drake were destined for the gibbet. Thus, it is more than ironic to pretend otherwise in the instance of such individuals at different points in time.
 
Yes, one can make the intellectual distinctions premised under the developing theories of International Law ( De Victoria's premise on the right to trade and Grotius's Freedom of the High Seas); but, such are a far cry from what Drake undertook--trade was hard work, surprising and plundering merchantmen eliminated that burden.
 
Let us give an example of how individual events are often "cleaned up" for the sake of national pride and future myth. In 1654, the government of the Commonwealth outfitted a naval expedition to the Caribbean under General Venables and Admiral Penn for a direct assault on the Spanish commercial fortresses of the Caribbean. Placing aside the legend that the English were repulsed from Santo Domingo by migrating fiddler crabs, all the expedition could accomplish was the capture of Santiago de La Vega and its 200 man garrison in Jamaica! Nevertheless, this event is usually treated as the "capture" of Jamaica, when in fact that island as with most others of the Antilles received scant attention from the Spanish, with their preoccupation over secure anchorages and hinterlands capable of executing the task of victualizing the commercial fleets. Neverthless, rather than discussing realities [and as result of the hagiographic nature of earlier exploits] lengthy explanations of the failure of this vaunted force are put forth in the manner chosen by C. H. Haring  back in the early 20th century, see the relevant chapter from his The Bucanners in the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century as found on-line:
 
As an aside, look upon the characterization made of Cromwell as one deeply dedicated to Puritan religion and "the people of God", a fantasy more of an American making than characteristic of the man who threw John Lilbourne into the Tower over Puritan polemics!
 
The simple fact in terms of this thread is that the English did not have the military and naval wherewithall to successfully assault the consolidated position of the Spanish throughout this period (1560-1660).
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