Spanish Armada 9 – God Blew and They Were Scattered

An Armada Medal

On this day in history, the 20th August 1588, a thanksgiving service was held at St Paul’s in London to give thanks to God for England’s victory over the Spaniards. The Spanish Armada had been defeated, obliterated in fact, yet the English fleet was left intact and only around 100 English men were lost in the skirmishes.

Although Sir Francis Drake and Lord Howard of Effingham should be given credit for the English fleet’s successful tactics, much of England’s victory was down to the weather, the “Protestant Wind” which scattered the Spanish fleet and caused damage to their ships. King Philip II of Spain commented on the defeat of his fleet “I sent you out to war with men, not with the wind and waves”, recognising that it was the weather and not any shortcomings of his commanders who were to blame for England’s victory.

Elizabeth I also recognised that England’s victory was down to the weather but she believed that it was because God was on England’s side and a special medal was struck to commemorate England’s victory. The medal was inscribed with the words “Flavit Jehovah et Dissipati Sunt” – God blew and they were scattered. The defeat of the Spanish Armada was a divine victory, or so the English people believed.

6 thoughts on “Spanish Armada 9 – God Blew and They Were Scattered

  1. Thank you for showing the medal! It’s funny that the Spanish ambassador in Paris, Bernardino de Mendoza, tried to sell this as a Spanish victory for about five months! Poor Philip, he regularly wished he were no king in such moments.

  2. It is funny that the Spaniards made out that they had won but at least Philip didn’t blame his men for what happened and realised that it was the weather that had defeated them. Spain was so well prepared and England weren’t at all, England didn’t really deserve to win did they?!

  3. Claire, I agree with your comment, and I thought I could elaborate on why that is.

    What I think is really odd is that for so long (if the “Elizabeth R” program is to be believed), Elizabeth fought so hard to convince herself and everyone else that the Armada wasn’t coming at all!

    That program shows us that Bess was fighting quite hard for a peace with the Duke of Parma (Phillip’s nephew), while ignoring everyone around who begs her to start fighting the Spanish. It also shows Philip scheming and planning the invasion while also instructing Parma to keep seducing Elizabeth with false promises to keep her off guard! Walsingham and everyone else basically shout at her but she doesn’t listen until it’s almost too late.

    But then, of course, she still wins at Tilbury, and Philip is shown being very angry and sad. Kind of ironic, huh, that the “Warrior Queen” tried so hard for so long to be anything but!
    I think she had learned one of many lessons from her father and Mary, that war often is very costly, violent, and counterproductive for all involved.

  4. Dear Claire:
    While on this Website, I was looking @ a picture/drawing of the Spanish Armada. I’ve seem to have Lost the page, and haven’t been able to find it again. The Ships were under Full Sail moving forward.
    Can you help me find the page please, a friend was Quiet intrested in what I discribed to him.


  5. i have found out the most obscure and random fact ever here it is:
    phillip at the time of the spanish defeat was eating some bread and as soon as the news got to him he was so surprised that he started choking on it

    random fact


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