Álvaro de Bazán

The Battle of Lepanto. October 7, 1571.

Venice had attempted to check Ottoman expansion in the eastern Mediterranean until 1540 but then, exhausted and despairing of support, made a humiliating peace with Süleyman I. His successor, Selim II, was determined to acquire the Venetian outpost of Cyprus and, when the Venetians refused to cede the island, invaded it in 1570. Venice appealed for help to Pope Pius V, who had tried since 1566 to form an alliance of Roman Catholic states. France and the Holy Roman Empire were preoccupied with the sweeping changes wrought by the Reformation. Spain offered hope, but Philip II, with an empty treasury, was faced with revolts in Andalusia and the Netherlands. Venice also deeply distrusted Spanish influence in Italy. Pius, however, was committed to drawing Spain, Venice, and the smaller Italian ...

The Invincible Armada – September 15, 1588 AD

Philip II of Spain co-ruled England with his wife, Mary I, after the death of Mary’s half-brother, Edward VI, a Protestant. Mary was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and a devout Roman Catholic. Philip and Mary ruled from 1553-1558, persecuting and burning at the stake Protestants and religious dissenters in the name of restoring Roman Catholicism in England, earning her the title “Bloody Mary”. Upon Mary’s death in 1558, Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was crowned Queen of England. Elizabeth had been imprisoned for almost a year under Mary’s reign, on suspicion of supporting the Protestant rebels. Upon ascending the throne, Elizabeth went about reversing the Roman Catholic spread under Philip and Mary, and established an English Protestant church wit...

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