So what was the cause of the Anglo-Spanish War?
There were obviously a number of causes, but probably the most important one is religion. In the 1560’s for example, Spain was faced with growing religious disturbances with the rise of Protestantism in their domains of the Low Countries, like the Netherlands and Belgium. As a defender of the Catholic Church, Philip II of Spain sought to fight against Protestantism, which eventually blew up into a full rebellion in 1566.
Meanwhile, relations with Queen Elizabeth I of England also deteriorated following her restoration of royal supremacy over the Church of England via the Act of Supremacy. This Act was considered a defiance of Papal authority, creating huge problems with the Pope. As a staunch Catholic supporter, Philip II naturally had a serious conflict with Elizabeth I.
Effectively, there was fighting of Protestants versus Catholics around Europe, including the Netherlands, France and Ireland. In one example, because of Elizabeth’s assistance in helping the Dutch Protestants against Catholic domains in Holland, Philip II decided to support the Catholic rebellion in Ireland against Elizabeth’s Protestant reforms.
Of course, there were also major commercial disputes and fighting in the colonies amongst English and Spanish traders as well, which further amplified the conflict.
In short, all of this religious tension surrounding Protestant England versus Catholic Spain was a major cause of the war between the two countries. And because Portugal came under the rule of Spain for sixty years, Portugal got dragged into the war.
In the end, the rise of Protestantism resulted in a huge European conflict and the war did not stop there. Sailors colonizing the New World brought this conflict all over the World, including Asia and Japan.
Were you aware of this religious conflict?
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