Six Galleons for the King of Spain: Imperial Defense in the Early Seventeenth Century.Steeped as we are in the legendary exploits of British mariners, from Drake and Hawkins, to Cook and Nelson, Hornblower and Aubrey, it is easy to forget that the first great naval empires of modern times were Iberian. Nor do we always recognize the persistence of Spanish naval power long after the supposed turning-point of 1588. Recently, however, historians have begun to explore the ramifications ramifications npl → Auswirkungen pl of Garrett Mattingly's pronouncement - in The Armada (1959) - that "the defeat of the Armada was not so much the end as the beginning of the Spanish navy." In their different ways, the two books under review here demonstrate the substantial truth of Mattingly's suggestion.
Teachers of Spanish history and of imperial and naval history will welcome the belated paperback appearance of Carla Phillips' Six Galleons for the King of Spain, a deserving prizewinner prize·win·ner
One that wins a prize.
prizewinner n → premiado/a
prizewinner prize n → gagnant(e)
in its hardcover incarnation. The book is organized around the service history of the six galleons of the title, beginning with the contract for their construction struck between the Crown and the ambitious Vizcayan entrepreneur Martin de Arana in 1625, and ending with one of their number, the San Felipe, limping home from 1639's disastrous battle of the Downs The naval Battle of the Downs took place on 31 October 1639 (New style) during the Eighty Years' War and was a decisive defeat of the Spanish, commanded by Admiral Antonio de Oquendo, by the United Provinces, commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp. . Adroitly a·droit
1. Dexterous; deft.
2. Skillful and adept under pressing conditions. See Synonyms at dexterous.
[French, from à droit : à, to (from Latin , Phillips uses the tale of Arana's ships as a unifying focus for a wide-ranging exploration of naval administration and strategy under Philip IV, of the mechanics of seventeenth-century shipbuilding and provisioning, and of the realities of shipboard ship·board
1. The condition of being aboard a ship: on shipboard.
2. Archaic The side of a ship.
adj. life in the period. Six Galleons is the product of extensive archival research in the principal Spanish repositories, and showcases its author's profound knowledge of early modern maritime practice. All naval history of this period must stand in the literary shadow of Mattingly's masterpiece, but Phillips is a fine writer with a particular knack for rendering technical discussions lucid and accessible, and her book deserves to stand on the same shelf with The Armada. Her conclusions range from a surprising but persuasive demonstration of the relative healthfulness health·ful
1. Conducive to good health; salutary.
2. Healthy. See Usage Note at healthy.
health of shipboard diet in the Spanish service, to a just appreciation of the skill and tenacity of Habsburg naval administrators, contractors and officers, whose struggles against an adverse conjuncture con·junc·ture
1. A combination, as of events or circumstances: "the power that lies in the conjuncture of faith and fatherland" Conor Cruise O'Brien.
2. preserved Spain's Atlantic empire largely intact. "By exhausting every available material and human resource, " she argues, "the empire at least survived. Spain had hoped for more from such sacrifices, but perhaps survival was enough" (222).
R. A. Stradling Professor Robert Anthony (Tony) Stradling (1937-2002), was a notable English semiconductor physicist, latterly professor of physics at Imperial College London.
Tony Stradling was born in Solihull, Warwickshire. He received his early education at Solihull School. has been identified with a similar thesis about the seventeenth-century persistence of the continental power of the Spanish Monarchy (see in particular his "Seventeenth-Century Spain: Decline or Survival?", European Studies Review ). Thus it is fitting that he has now turned his attention to Spanish naval strength in northwestern European waters, in order, as he says, to illustrate the point "that Spain remained a major naval power for nearly a century after the defeat of the Invincible Armada" (ix). Unfortunately, his work on The Armada of Flanders, while valuable as an exploration of unfamiliar material, fails to transcend its monographic bounds to provide more general illumination about Spanish power in the age of accelerating decline.
Stradling's title, with its promise of a century of coverage, is misleading, since the narrative of the Dunkirk fleet that fills three of the book's four sections focuses almost entirely on the four decades after 1618. The background, from the outbreak of the Dutch Revolt until the onset of the Twelve Years' Truce The Twelve Years' Truce was the name, given later, to the 12-year period of ceasefire in the Netherlands  from March 1609-1621,  between the United Provinces and the Spanish controlled southern states, mediated by France and England at The Hague. , is dismissed in a brief chapter drawn largely from secondary sources. Thereafter, however, there is no reason to complain of sketchy treatment, since Stradling launches an exhaustive, archivally-based account of the fleet's seventeenth-century activities and vicissitudes vicissitudes
changes in circumstance or fortune [Latin vicis change]
vicissitudes npl → vicisitudes fpl; peripecias fpl . In this narrative, detail sometimes obscures analysis and non-specialist readers may find their attention wandering, particularly since Stradling occasionally deviates from chronology without apparent reason. The final section of The Armada of Flanders, topically-arranged, holds more interest. His accounts of "Men and Ships" and of "Administration - structures, personnel and finance, " add corroboration and some nuances to Phillips' treatment of similar topics; Stradling is particularly adept in explaining the complexities of joint - and sometimes competitive - Hispano-Flemish administration of the northern fleet. The discussion of Dunkirk privateering privateering, former usage of war permitting privately owned and operated war vessels (privateers) under commission of a belligerent government to capture enemy shipping. in chapter 10, although brief, sheds considerable light on this aspect of naval warfare, which seems to have far outstripped the crown's fleets as a scourge of Madrid's maritime enemies. This chapter concludes with an arresting phrase: "as a symbol of the bellum omnium contra omnes Bellum omnium contra omnes, a Latin phrase meaning "the war of all against all", is the description that Thomas Hobbes gives to human existence in the state of nature thought experiment that he conducts in De Cive (1642) and Leviathan (1651). , [privateering provides] perhaps the most fitting image conceivable of the prolonged internecine in·ter·nec·ine
1. Of or relating to struggle within a nation, organization, or group.
2. Mutually destructive; ruinous or fatal to both sides.
3. Characterized by bloodshed or carnage. European war of which it formed part" (228).
Taken together, these books provide a sound anatomy of the naval sinews of Spanish imperial power in the era of the Thirty Years' War Thirty Years' War
(1618–48) Series of intermittent conflicts in Europe fought for various reasons, including religious, dynastic, territorial, and commercial rivalries. . Both are the products of careful research by mature and distinguished scholars, and both belong on the private shelves of historians of imperial Spain. Only Phillips's Six Galleons, however, will please the general reader or find its way onto the reading lists of university courses, and the press deserves credit for making it available in a handsome paperback for a wider audience.