Chapter 4: Philip II of Spain

As you grow up and start to take an interest in the news, you will realise that – at different times – certain countries are presented in our media as 'rogue states'.  These are small nations who are diplomatically our enemies, and who seem to flout the 'rules' of international relations (for example, Iraq under Saddam Hussein).  As I write (in 2013), we are worried about Somalia and its pirates, and North Korea is the bκte-noir of the international community.  We find these countries – which in absolute terms are utter nonentities – at the same time shocking and frightening, and there is a continual demand to do something about the kind of states which US president George Bush labelled 'the axis of evil'.

I used to tell my students that, they needed to realise, in the 16th century, England was one of those 'rogue states'.  England in the time of the Tudors was a tiny, troublesome, pirate-state, a thorn in the side of the real superpower of the time – the huge empire ruled by Philip II. 

Philip certainly looked on England as part of 'an axis of evil' and, eventually, he decided to teach England a lesson.

This chapter tried to look at things from his point-of-view.



1.   King Philip's Problems

2.   All on Board!

3.   The Armada