The Race for Empires England, France, and Spain
Religious Conflict * French and English claims and exploration of North America angered Spain. The tensions were further increased by the Protestant Reformation . * The divisions over religion led to conflicts between people and nations. * Throughout Europe, fighting between Catholics and Protestants often led to civil war and widespread destruction.
Conflict between Spain and France * French king was Catholic yet many of the French people had become Protestant, called Huguenots . * The French decided to set up a colony in the Americas. This would serve two purposes: send the Huguenots out of France and challenge the Spanish claims in America. * In 1564 Huguenots founded Fort Caroline , outside present-day Jacksonville Florida. None of the settlers knew how to hunt, fish, or farm and soon ran out of supplies.
Conflict between Spain and France * The supply ship was met by a warship from Spain and chased out to sea. The Spanish commander, Pedro Menendez then landed a short distance away and built fort St. Augustine. * He marched on Fort Caroline and massacred the French colony. Only 50 women and children survived * Later the French supply ship wrecked and all survivors were killed. Menendez made it cleared he killed them because they were Protestant, not because they were French.
Conflict between Spain and England * Conflict began when King Henry VIII wanted a divorce from his wife, Catherine (daughter of Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella), because she had not borne a son to inherit the throne. * The Pope would not grant the divorce, Henry broke from the Catholic Church and in its place set up the Church of England. Religious differences eventually drew England and Spain into war. * England’s navy was not as large or powerful as Spain’s, so Queen Elizabeth I , the daughter of King Henry VIII, secretly encouraged a group of English sailors called sea dogs , the name used to describe captains of English pirate ships, to fight Philip.
Conflict between Spain and England * Francis Drake became the most famous of the sea dogs. The Spanish feared him and called him “ the Dragon .” Not only did he raid the Spanish, he was the first Englishman to sail around the world. For his achievements Elizabeth made him a knight, making him Sir Francis Drake. * In 1588 King Philip II, son of Ferdinand and Isabella, put together a huge naval fleet (130 ships), the Spanish Armada , to try to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and restore Catholicism to England. * The two navies met in the English Channel. The smaller faster English ships sank much of the Armada in battle. On their return to Spain stormy weather, known as the “Protestant wind”, destroyed many of the Armada’s remaining ships.
Elizabeth I and the Defeat of the Spanish Armada
Decline of Spanish Power * The English victory over Spain had an important effect; Spain’s image suffered and the world saw that Spain could be beaten. * Spain rebuilt its navy and maintained its colonial possessions * The great flow of wealth from the Americas caused inflation , a dramatic increase in prices, in Spain’s economy. To avoid high local prices, many Spaniards bought goods from other countries. With so many buying imported goods, the Spanish stopped making their own products. Eventually Spain could neither buy nor produce the goods to maintain its power .
Search for the Northwest Passage * European nations searched for a Northwest Passage through or around the continent to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific. * When these searches failed to find a passage, the nations began to focus on North America itself.