By Angus Konstam, Peter Dennis

In 1585, battle among Spain and Elizabethan England was once all yet inevitable. therefore, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster proposed a pre-emptive strike designed to paralyse Spain's economic climate by way of outstanding on the Spanish major - the center of her in a foreign country empire. The Elizabethan "Sea puppy" Sir Francis Drake was once chosen to steer this all-important raid. through the summer season of 1585 an excursion used to be accumulated in Plymouth - a magnificent strength of 21 ships and 1,800 infantrymen and sailors. whilst observe reached Plymouth that the Queen was once having moment innovations and may name off the raid, Drake hurriedly placed to sea, sooner than his day trip may be recalled. After first attacking the Canary Islands, he ultimately made landfall within the Caribbean in advance of Christmas 1585, and he headed immediately for Santo Domingo, the oldest Spanish urban within the New international, and the capital of the island of Hispaniola. Drake used to be quickly grasp of town, which he held to ransom prior to crusing off in the direction of his new vacation spot - the treasure port of Cartagena. Cartagena was once the place emeralds and gold have been collected for cargo to Spain, and so Drake was hoping for wealthy pickings. regardless of being seriously outnumbered, Drake landed his squaddies, who stormed the town and received a awesome victory. Cartagena used to be plundered, then held to ransom sooner than Drake set sail back, the holds of his ships choked with Spanish treasure. not able to raid the seriously defended urban of Havana he as an alternative raided the little Spanish colony at the coast of Florida and then he ultimately lower back domestic. Drake's bold raids had ultimately led to the outbreak of the long-expected struggle and it'd be the final motion of its sort for a few years as England sought to guard herself opposed to invasion and the Spanish invasion.

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Additional info for The Great Expedition: Sir Francis Drake on the Spanish Main 1585-86 (Raid 17)

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Governor Don Pedro Fernandez de Busto decided to take no chances. Anything of value was transported inland, while the city itself was evacuated of all non-essential residents or soldiers. Don Pedro Fernandez called for reinforcements from elsewhere in Venezuela, and the militia of Cartagena was mustered, equipped and drilled. Weapons were gathered and checked, fortifications were repaired and strengthened, and scouting craft were sent out to patrol the coast, and to provide warning of any approaching fleet.

His original intention was to attack all the ports along the Spanish Main in turn, but his losses through disease made a protracted campaign inadvisable. Many of his men were still recovering from their fever, and a lengthy stay in such unhealthy waters was considered too great a risk. 53 Sir Francis Drake on the S p a n i s h Main 1 5 8 5 - 8 6 Cartagena was the key to the Spanish Main. It was a major treasure port where gold and emeralds were stored, ready for shipment to Spain in the Tierra Firme flota.

When Drake's fleet finally sailed from Vigo on 11 October, Don Pedro Bermudez must have been a relieved man, but he still had to answer for his 34 The Great E x p e d i t i o n actions to the King. After all, Drake had dictated terms on Spanish soil, and extorted supplies virtually at gunpoint. Attacks on Spain's colonies were one thing, but similar incidents in Spain itself were seen as a grave insult - an international humiliation. Worse, the Spanish had no idea where Drake would go next. King Philip ordered that the settlements in the New World be warned that Drake was at sea.

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