Learning Objectives
Be able to identify reasons for the
failure of the Spanish Armada. (Level
Be able to identify and explain specific
reasons for the failure of the Spanish
Armada. (Level 5)
Be able to rank reasons in order of
importance – explaining in detail why
you have chosen this order (Level 6)
In pairs, try to summarise
the events of the Spanish
Armada in no more than 15
Working in pairs, you should now
decide WHY the Spanish Armada
failed. Using the information in your
books that you have collected
throughout previous lessons, you
should try to identify as many reasons
as possible as to why the armada
Write the title ‘Reasons why the Armada failed’
in your book.
Working in pairs, you should create a mind map
that identifies as many reasons WHY the
Armada failed as possible. You should use all
the information and notes you have made so far
to help you.
If you are struggling, discuss it with other
people on your table too.
Once you have completed your mind map, you
should complete the table. At first, only complete
the first two columns headed:
‘Reasons for failure’
‘Why did this reason contribute to the Spanish
Once you have completed this – you may go on to
the ranking activity. Try to explain why one event
is more important than the other!
The Spanish Armada
Reasons for
Spanish Ships
Why did this reason
contribute to Spanish
The Spanish ship’s guns took up to an
hour to reload. This meant they could not
attack the English very often, giving
England the advantage.
Rank (1 most
important, 7
least reason
for failure.
Level 5-6
Explain why you have
chosen this order.
By taking time to reload the Spanish
could’t attack. Attacking the enemy is
the most important part of an invasion.
Without this they could never win.
The Spanish Armada
Reasons for
English Ships
Spanish Ships
Spanish Plans
King Philip
Queen Elizabeth’s
Why did this reason
contribute to Spanish
7 least.
Level 3-4
Explain why you have
chosen this order.
In your opinion, what
was the single most
important reason for
the failure of the
Spanish Armada?
Push yourself – Level 6
With your partner, choose two different
reasons why the Armada failed and
explain how they combined together to
make matters even worse for the
E.g. Can you explain how the Spanish
plans and poor communication can be
linked together?
The English filled 80 ships with
flammable material and set fire to them.
They were carried, by the strong winds,
out to sea towards the Spanish who
panicked and scattered.
Once the armada scattered, they were
no longer in their strong crescent
formation, and so they were an easy
target for the English artillery.
Once the Spanish were forced
north, they had no choice but
to continue on round
Scotland, because the English
would have been waiting for
them if they had gone back
they way they had come.
The English had an
experienced and strong navy
whilst the Spanish were better
fighting on land.
Lots of Spanish ships were
sunk by the fire of the English
Elizabeth made clever use of what we
would now call propaganda. She made a
public appearance with her troops which
made them confident.
The Spanish got caught in a terrible
storm. Strong winds and rain forced
many Spanish ships onto the coast of
Ireland, so they could not make it home.
Philip had made a plan that he
ordered the Spanish to follow.
They had to do what he said
no matter what, even if things
were going wrong!
Philip was said to be too
proud and arrogant, and he
refused to listen to anyone
else’s advice.
Francis Drake, an English
sailor, had a good knowledge
of the weather and told the
English to let Spanish sail into
the storm as that would finish
them off.
The English ships were better
built and easier to manoeuvre.
They were much better
Because of the
way the
mounted their
guns (placed
them on the
ship) they took
up to an hour
to re-load.
The Spanish fleet was too
large, so there was no port big
enough for them to anchor in.
Once Medina-Sidonia (the
Spanish Commander) left
Spain he could not
communicate at all with either
King Philip or The Duke of
Parma (who he was supposed
to collect with his troops from
the Netherlands).
The Spanish set sail without
enough sailors. Philip’s plan
to stop and collect more
troops from France left the
Armada vulnerable to attack.

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