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The definitive history of the Spanish Armada, lavishly illustrated and fully revised
“Will surely become the definitive account.”—Stephen Brumwell, Wall Street Journal
In July 1588 the Spanish Armada sailed from Corunna to conquer England. Three weeks later an English fireship attack in the Channel—and then a fierce naval battle—foiled the planned invasion. Many myths still surround these events. The genius of Sir Francis Drake is exalted, while Spain’s efforts are belittled. But what really happened during that fateful encounter?
Drawing on archives from around the world, Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker also deploy vital new evidence from Armada shipwrecks off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland. Their gripping, beautifully illustrated account provides a fresh understanding of how the rival fleets came into being; how they looked, sounded, and smelled; and what happened when they finally clashed.
Looking beyond the events of 1588 to the complex politics which made war between England and Spain inevitable, and at the political and dynastic aftermath, Armada deconstructs the many legends to reveal why, ultimately, the bold Spanish mission failed.
About the Author
Colin Martin was reader in maritime archaeology at St Andrews University and has directed excavations on three Armada shipwrecks. Geoffrey Parker teaches history at The Ohio State University and has published forty books. Both served as historical consultants on the BBC documentary Armada.
“Will surely become the definitive account. . . . Distinguished by incisive analysis, Armada fuses the complementary skills of the historian and the underwater archaeologist, exploiting the latest discoveries from the archives and seabed alike.”—Stephen Brumwell, Wall Street Journal
“Its extensive updates, drawing on international archive research and marine archaeology, mean it should remain the definitive English study of the Armada for at least another generation.”—Dan Jones, Times (UK)
“Martin and Parker have been working together on the Armada since its quatercentenary in 1988. This is their most comprehensive work, the profit of decades of tricky deep-sea archaeology and archive-trawling. It is this archaeological focus that makes their writing stand out among many competent histories. The remains of musical instruments and medical tools tell a human tale, balancing out detailed analysis of the innovations that provided the English with a military edge.”—Daniel Brooks, Sunday Telegraph
On Wall Street Journal’s list of “10 Books to Read: The Best Reviews of January 2023”
“The most authoritative account of the Armada yet published. . . . A window onto the early modern world and a complete analysis of an event that continues to intrigue and enlighten.”—Margarette Lincoln, Times Literary Supplement
“Martin and Parker’s superb account of the ill-fated Spanish effort to invade England in 1588 is remarkable in its level of detail, drawing on naval archeology and manuscripts to provide a full and vivid history.”—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs
“A triumph. Beautifully illustrated, delightfully readable, yet uncompromising in its scholarship, this will be the definitive work on the Armada for generations of historians to come. It is a must-have for all those who would seek to understand one of the defining moments of early modern history.”—Journal of Military History
“Those who claim you cannot improve on perfection need to explain this book. Parker and Martin’s original account of the Armada campaign was the work from which all subsequent scholars took their lead; this one, with 30 years’ worth of extra research and thought, sets a new benchmark. Magisterial.”—Dan Snow, author of On This Day in History
“An elegant marriage between archival research and marine archaeology yields new light on the Armada and its benighted crews in a compelling account of the 1588 campaign. After reading this absorbing book, who can now still believe that history is static, carved in stone?”—Robert Hutchinson, author of The Spanish Armada
“A gripping, scholarly and masterful appraisal of the events of 1588. Piecing together a wealth of original sources, from letters and papers in the archives of England, Spain and the USA to evidence from the shipwrecks, Parker and Martin have constructed a narrative that is as vivid as it is dramatic. This brilliant book will rapidly take its place as the definitive work on the Armada.”—Tracy Borman, author of The Private Lives of the Tudors
“Martin and Parker’s Armada is the best explanation of the defeat of the attempted Spanish Invasion of England in 1588. Skilfully combining archaeological and historical research, these great scholars provide here the authoritative edition of their lifetimes’ work on the subject.”—Hiram Morgan, University College Cork
“This is a magisterial study of some 50 years in the making. Bringing together for the first time the latest insights from archaeological research with important new manuscript discoveries, Martin and Parker have written the authoritative book on the Spanish Armada of 1588, which is as comprehensive as it is compelling.”—James Daybell, University of Plymouth