Year 8

Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada

I can recall the reasons for the Spanish Armada and explain how it was defeated.

Year 8

Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada

I can recall the reasons for the Spanish Armada and explain how it was defeated.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. English privateers had been raiding Spanish ships in the Atlantic and stealing their gold.
  2. England supported Dutch Protestant rebels in the Netherlands against the Spanish.
  3. The Spanish King, Philip II, wished to make England Catholic.
  4. The Spanish Armada in 1588 was a Spanish attempt to invade England.
  5. Elizabeth I used the victory over the Spanish in propaganda.

Common misconception

The English navy destroyed the Spanish Armada.

Most of the ships lost from the Spanish Armada were sunk in storms after the battle against the English navy.


  • Alliance - an alliance is a connection or friendship between different countries

  • Privateer - a privateer is a person or armed ship allowed by a government to attack and steal from other ships at sea

  • Fleet - a fleet is a group of ships sailing together

  • Navy - the navy is the branch of the armed forces which operates at sea

  • Spanish Armada - the Spanish Armada was a large group of warships

Encourage students to give more than one example of each of the three factors in order to strengthen their argument.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains conflict or violence.


Adult supervision suggested.


This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).



6 Questions

How old was Mary, Queen of Scots when she became queen of Scotland?
Correct answer: 6 days old
6 years old
16 years old
60 years old
What religion did Mary, Queen of Scots follow?
Correct Answer: Catholicism, Catholic, catholicism, catholic, Roman Catholicism
Why did many Catholics think that Mary was legally the rightful ruler of England?
unlike Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth was not Catholic
Correct answer: Elizabeth was illegitimate as she was born from an illegal marriage
Elizabeth was unmarried with no children
How did the Scottish lords react to Mary's marriage to Lord Bothwell?
they encouraged her to claim her right to England's throne
Correct answer: they rebelled against her
they demanded that she be married in a Presbyterian ceremony
they forced her and Lord Bothwell to return to France
What was the name of the plot to assassinate Elizabeth that definitely involved Mary, Queen of Scots?
Bakeman Plot
Correct answer: Babington Plot
Ridolfi Plot
Throckmorton Plot
Why was Mary considered a 'figurehead' for Catholic rebels in England?
She was the head of the Catholic Church
She was the most religiously-minded person in England
Correct answer: She inspired Catholics to rebel for her

6 Questions

What was England's relationship like with Spain when Elizabeth became queen in 1558?
good - England was part of the Spanish Empire
Correct answer: good - Spain's king, Philip II, had been married to England's queen, Mary I
neutral - neither country knew a lot about the other one
bad - England had previously invaded and ruled parts of Spain
bad - England and Spain had been at war for years
Why did Philip II ask Elizabeth to arrest Francis Drake?
he had mocked Philip II's appearance by saying his beard needed a trim
Correct answer: he had attacked Spanish ships and settlements in the Americas
he fought against the Spanish during the Dutch Rebellion
he had raided Spanish settlements on the north coast of Spain
Fill in the missing word: the name given to Dutch ships that were allowed safe harbour in English ports during the Dutch Rebellion was Sea ..........
Correct Answer: Beggars, beggars
Which of the following was true about the Duke of Medina Sidonia, leader of the Spanish Armada?
he was secretly an English spy
he had lost his leg fighting against the Dutch and was in constant pain
Correct answer: he got violently seasick whenever he was on a ship
he was hated by all of the other ships' captains
What new tactics did the English navy use to fight the Spanish Armada?
massive warships for boarding enemy vessels
stealthy night-time raids
underwater battering rams to sink enemy ships
Correct answer: fast and manoeuvrable ships with long-range cannons
Which event sunk a large part of the Spanish Armada?
The slow journey up the English Channel
The Battle of Gravelines
Correct answer: Storms off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland

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