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In this time period, Spain saw a vast reduction in power, while England was able to grow in power. France and even a unified Netherlands saw growth in power ...
- Main article: English Armada
After the disaster of the Spanish Armada, England decided to take good use of the fact that nearly all of the Spanish fleet was being refurbished. With all of the Spanish ships parked in calm waters, under the command of Sir Francis Drake, the English attacked Lisbon, Coruna, and Cadiz, where the ships were being refurbished. The Spanish Atlantic fleet was destroyed.
With word of this, rebels in Portugal began to throw off Spanish rule. The vast rebellion led a better claimant to the throne of Portugal to come to power. The Portugo-Spanish alliance was dead.
After the destruction of the Spanish fleet, England turned their eyes to the next goal of the Armada. The Azores lay in between the Americas and Europe. To gain the region would be a very good thing. England would be able to take returning ships' treasure and would be able to establish Spanish colonies as their own. The English Armada moved there and attempted to conquer the region. However, there, Portuguese ships were stationed. The few ships there were destroyed by the vast armada.
With all tasks completed, the Armada looked to capture Spanish gold. Returning ships were shocked to see Sir Francis Drake waiting for them and stealing their gold.
The World Post-Armada
The complete destruction of the Spanish fleet resulted in their colonies becoming much more vulnerable to invasion. However, they were able to retain most of their colonies. This is covered greater in the next section.
Reunification of the Netherlands
The United Provinces began an offensive to unify the lowlands. The still-powerful but heavily weakened Spanish fleet put up a very good fight. However, it was not enough. At the Battle of Brussels, Spain was defeated. This proved to be the pivotal battle in the Dutch War of Unification. However, this was a sideshow to the wars in Iberia.
Loss of Portugal
Spanish Hapsburgs ruled Portugal. Their claim to the throne was less than that of the claim of a notable duke. This duke was supported by the English Armada. The English began a rebellion against Spanish rule. This rebellion expanded across all of Portugal. With the Azores established as an English-ruled archipelago, ships began to attack Spanish ones. Despite the Duke's claims, many Spanish were loyal to the Hapsburgs. As a result, the war proved to be a bloody one. However, Spain had no chance. They had a far smaller navy and were weak. Portugal retained most of its navy. As a result, Portugal won the Iberian War. Their victory of the war led to the duke becoming king of Portugal.
Despite the victory of the English Armada, the Anglo-Spanish War continued. With Spain having lost their navy, England gained an advantage. They decided to attempt to conquer Patagonia and Peru. A vast fleet of English ships was sent to take Peru and Patagonia. Encountering negligible resistance, the region was rapidly conquered by the English crown. The silver mine of Potosi was under English control and so was the Magellan Strait.
Even France gained power thanks to the fall of Spain. Northern Argentina was annexed by Portugal. This will be talked about in the next paragraph. However, the rest of Argentina fell under French control. This colony became the second incarnation of France Antarctique. It was the only French colony south of the equator and, in contrast to New France, this region was used as a colony for Huguenots and other non-Catholic French.
Expansion of Brazil
The Portuguese colony of Brazil was restricted in size by the Treaty of Torsedillas. All of their other colonies were unsuccessful. With the Portuguese Rebellion, however, Portugal was unlikely to support such nonsensical Spanish plots. As part of the Iberian War, Portugal gained an advantage over Spain. Despite the fall of the Azores to England, Portugal could still travel to Brazil. Troops were sent overseas and, in a series of wars, conquered all of Spanish and unclaimed South America excluding New Granada. Brazil now extended to the Pacific coast.
Occurrences in the Viceroyalty
New Spain became a land where people fleeing the fall of most of South America fled to. The formerly mostly-native lands of Mexico became half-Spanish almost overnight. However, expansion was stopped by a loss of Spanish colonial weight.
France, unhindered by Spanish claims in North America, began a campaign of expansion into North America. England lost all need for the region, instead even allowing French ships to go through the Strait of Magellan in return for a fee. In a series of wars, their colony of New France was expanded to encompass the coastal region of western North America. However, the region of California was claimed by Spain. Of course, the French wanted the lush and tropical region. Being only under nominal Spanish control, it took a short war to conquer it. This Franco-Spanish War led to almost all of North America falling under nominal French control. In addition, Catalonia and Basque Country fell back under French control.
Loss of the Philippines
However, despite all of this, missionaries were still converting the Philippines to Christianity. Missionaries encountered quite a bit of resistance. Spain, reduced to New Spain and the Philippines, had little power to spare on the Philippines. Eventually, the colony was given up and it would not fall back under European control until the nineteenth century. Christianity was almost wiped out by rebellion as Islamic missionaries converted the populace.