Armada, Spanish

Armada, Spanish

Armada, Spanish, 1588, fleet launched by Philip II of Spain for the invasion of England, to overthrow the Protestant Elizabeth I and establish Philip on the English throne; also called the Invincible Armada. Preparations, under the command of the marqués de Santa Cruz, began in 1586 but were seriously delayed by a surprise attack on Cádiz by Sir Francis Drake in 1587. By the time the expedition was ready Santa Cruz had died, and command was given to the duque de Medina Sidonia. The Armada consisted of 130 ships, including transports and merchantmen, and carried about 30,000 men. It was to go to Flanders and from there convoy the army of Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma, to invade England. It set out from Lisbon in May, 1588, but was forced into A Coruña by storms and did not set sail again until July. Medina Sidonia's orders were to proceed straight up the English Channel and refuse battle until he had made junction with Parma. This gave the initiative to the English, whose main fleet, commanded by Charles Howard (later earl of Nottingham), sailed out from Plymouth to achieve the windward side of the Spanish and attacked at long range. Three minor actions followed, in which the Armada was somewhat damaged but its formation unbroken. On Aug. 6, Medina Sidonia anchored off Calais, from which position he hoped to make contact with Parma. The following night the English sent fire ships into the anchorage, causing the Spanish fleet to scatter, and then attacked (Aug. 8) at close range off Gravelines. Unable to re-form, the Armada was severely battered, but a sudden change in the wind enabled most of the ships to escape northward. In attempting to sail home by Scotland and the west coast of Ireland, the Spanish ships were dispersed by storms; their provisions gave out; and many of those who landed in Ireland were killed by English troops. Only about half the fleet reached home.

See G. Mattingly, The Armada (1959); A. McKee, From Merciless Invaders (1964); W. Graham, The Spanish Armadas (1972).

Armada, used in English, is a word of Spanish origin similar to navy or fleet, but is slightly archaic and romanticised, and carries implications of links to historical Spanish naval traditions. This is the same meaning as in Spanish, but in English, unlike in Spanish, it refers particularly to the Great Armada of 1588.


In etymological origin, armada is a Spanish word meaning "armed" in the feminine form. It is used in many Spanish-speaking nations as the title of the national naval force (other Spanish-speaking countries use marina [English: navy] or marina de guerra [English: war navy]). Mexico uses the variation Marina Armada (Armed Navy) for the Mexican Navy. The word has evolved to mean a military navy or fleet in its English language use.

In Spanish the word armada also appears in other military contexts, such as fuerzas armadas (English: armed forces). El Salvador uses the term Fuerza Armada de El Salvador, in English Armed Force of El Salvador.

Armada may refer to:

Naval / military


  • The Spanish Armada or Great Armada, an unsuccessful attempted invasion of England by Spain in 1588.
  • The English Armada or Counter Armada, an unsuccessful English naval campaign in 1589 following the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
  • The Armada of 1779 or Other Armada, an unsuccessful attempted invasion of England by France and Spain in 1779.
  • HMS Armada, name of two ships in the British Royal Navy.

National Navies

Armed Forces
Fuerza Armada de El Salvador : Armed Force of El Salvador. armada - a large legion of armed personnel control by a party or by a government. EX. A.S.U.S. (the Armed Services of United States)


Groups and companies

Other uses

Search another word or see armada, spanishon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature