A review of World Without End: The Global Empire of Philip II, by Hugh Thomas published on spectator.co.uk. This history of the Spanish Empire seems more interested in the conquerors than the conquered but still makes its argument well
‘Every schoolboy knows who imprisoned Montezuma and who strangled Atahualpa.’ Macaulay, anticipating Gove, was complaining that the schoolboys by contrast did not get enough about Clive and the British conquest of India. Hugh Thomas, in this and in the two previous volumes of his trilogy on the Spanish empire, presumes that we have all forgotten about Montezuma and Atahualpa, and argues that we do not appreciate Spain’s imperial achievements. He is probably right, and he sets one off to speculate why.
Brad Bertelli writes for Keysnet.com–The mission of the treasure fleets or flotas that once sailed between Spain and the New World was two-fold. Ships leaving Spain transported supplies and reinforcements to New World colonies. Upon their return, they brought treasures, bars of silver and gold for the realm, as well as goods to be sold at market.
The trip took between six and eight weeks to complete, one-way, and followed routes established by Christopher Columbus and Ponce de Leon — among other early explorers. On the voyage from Spain, ships followed the African coastline, passing between the Canary Islands before turning west and sailing to the modern day Dominican Republic. On the trip home from the New World, the fleets roughly paralleled La Florida until, generally speaking, captains sighted Bermuda. Bermuda was used as a beacon of sorts from which vessels turned east to make the Atlantic crossing.
From The History Channel–The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholicmaritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The Ottoman forces, sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto, met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina, Sicily, where they had previously gathered. More…
By Guy Adams, Independent.co.uk, September 20, 2006–Don’t tell the locals, but the hordes of British holidaymakers who visited Spain this summer were, in fact, returning to their ancestral home.
A team from Oxford University has discovered that the Celts, Britain’s indigenous people, are descended from a tribe of Iberian fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay 6,000 years ago. DNA analysis reveals they have an almost identical genetic “fingerprint” to the inhabitants of coastal regions of Spain, whose own ancestors migrated north between 4,000 and 5,000BC.
When we first considered publishing an English-language online magazine about Spain we expected that most of our readers would be northern Europeans, people from cold climes who are familiar with Spain and might even have been here on holidays. We thought they would be British, Germans, Scandinavians, French, Belgians and Dutch, along with a few Americans, Russians, Japanese and Chinese. As a lot of these people already know Spain we thought we might be able to lure them gently to take a deeper look at the country and maybe even consider it as a place to set up housekeeping. We know that’s a good idea. We’ve done it ourselves.
This one-hour 2004 BBC documentary, part three of an eight-part series entitled Battlefield Britain and presented by the father-son team, Peter and Dan Snow, offers a fascinating account of the events of the summer of 1588 in the waters of the English Channel and the west of Ireland. Spanish King Philip II, militantly Catholic, was at the time the head of the world’s greatest empire, and he was tired of English privateers raiding his gold shipments from the New World. His solution: invade and conquer England. So he prepared one of the greatest fleets the world had ever seen–130 warships–and dispatched them to ferry his soldiers from Flanders to deal with the pesky Protestant Brits. This was the Armada Invencible, the Spanish Armada. More…