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The Tudor Society

20 August 1588 – A Thanksgiving Service for the Armada Victory

The Armada Portrait – the window on the right shows the Armada being scattered by the Protestant Wind.

The Armada Portrait – the window on the right shows the Armada being scattered by the Protestant Wind.

On 20th August 1588 a thanksgiving service was held at St Paul's in London to give thanks to God for England's victory over the Spanish Armada. The Armada had been defeated, obliterated in fact, yet the English fleet was left intact and only around 100 English men were lost in the skirmishes.

Although Sir Francis Drake and Lord Howard of Effingham should be given credit for the English fleet's successful tactics, much of England's victory was down to the weather, the 'Protestant Wind' which scattered the Spanish fleet and caused damage to their ships. King Philip II of Spain commented on the defeat of his fleet, saying "I sent you out to war with men, not with the wind and waves", recognising that it was the weather and not any shortcomings of his commanders who were to blame for England's victory. The wind had helped the English navy at the Battle of Gravelines because the Spanish fleet kept being driven into shallow water and then on 30th July 1588 the wind changed direction and forced the remaining Spanish ships northwards and to scatter.

Elizabeth I also recognised that England's victory was down to the weather but she believed that it was because God was on England's side. A special medal was struck to commemorate England's victory. The medal was inscribed with the words Flavit Jehovah et Dissipati Sunt – "God blew and they were scattered". The defeat of the Spanish Armada was a divine victory, or so the English people believed.

Armada medal

Armada medal

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. M /

    Thanks to Hawkins, our ships were faster and more manoeuverable. The Spanish warships didn’t stand a chance. However, it was a shame that our navy did not have open access to the treasury because we ran short of ammunition. Who was it who was so parsimonious to allow that?

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20 August 1588 – A Thanksgiving Service for the Armada Victory