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The Start of Spain's Decline as a World Power

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In the sixteenth century Spain was the Western Europe’s dominant power. King Phillip II sought to extend his empire and Roman Catholic faith. In July of 1588 his Armada reached the southwest coast of England where they were besieged. In retreat to Calais the Spanish fleet scattered and the only route back home was north around Scotland and Ireland. This decision was their doom. The Spanish armada encountered heavy storms and many of the ships were violently wrecked. It is reported that only 67 ships out of the 132 got back to Spain because of that fateful storm - totally defeated and demoralized. Medals awarded to British naval officers who took part in the battle bore the inscription, “God breathed and they were scattered”. This was the turning point in British history and began Spain’s decline as a world power.

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