The armadas of 1588 and 1688

Twice in the past 500 years, England has been attacked by a foreign navy. First was the Spanish Armada, with 130 ships, and that invasion failed. Everyone in England knows this great story of English resolve and victory.

The second was William of Orange a century later, a bigger and better-planned operation with 463 ships. This time the invasion succeeded. William landed in Devon in November with his tens of thousands of men and horses and by December was in London running the country. Nobody in England knows this story of English irresolution and defeat — maybe one in a hundred? Luckily, just as before, it was all for the best, and we’ve all heard of an event called the Glorious Revolution.

[29 November 2015]

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