The Spanish Armada





The Armada was a great fleet which the King of Spain sent to attack

England, in the days of Queen Elizabeth. There were more than a hundred

ships, so large and high that they looked like towers on the sea; and

they came sailing along arranged in the shape of a big half-moon.



The great English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, was playing at bowls when

messengers came hurrying to tell him that the Armada was approaching. He

quietly finished his game, and then set sail to fight the Spaniards. His

fleet was not so large as the Armada, and the ships were small, but they

were light and fast. They met the Armada in the English Channel, and

sailed round it, attacking any ship that dropped out of line, and

speeding away before the clumsy Spanish vessels could seize them. In

this way they did much harm to the enemy. Then, one night, when it was

dark, and the Spanish vessels were lying quietly at anchor, Admiral

Drake sent eight blazing fire-ships into their midst. In great fear, the

Spaniards cut their anchor-ropes, and sailed out to the open sea, and

the English ships followed, firing upon them as they fled. For two days

the English chased the flying Spaniards. Then their powder and shot

failed, and a storm arose; so they had to go back. The Armada sailed on,

hoping to escape, but the wild tempest tossed many of the great vessels

on the rocks and cliffs of the coast, and dashed them to pieces. Only a

few, broken and battered, with starving and weary men on board, ever

reached Spain again. And so England was saved.





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