Tudor Navy - The Royal Navy
The Royal Navy was developed by Henry VIII who reigned over England between 1509 and 1547. King Henry VIII became known as the “Father of the English Navy”. The English Tudor navy increased under Henry VIII from just 5 ships at the beginning of his reign to about 60 ships at the end of his reign. The Tudor navy was born. According to the most authentic lists, in 1548 there were 53 ships in the Fleet, with a total tonnage of about 11,000. The Mary Rose was built in 1509 / 1511 as the first English gunship and between 1511 and 1512 King Henry VIII established Deptford and Woolwich as the Royal Dockyards. King Henry VIII also created a great chain of coastal fortresses in the 1540s to defend England against the threat of invasion. An invasion came during his reign when there were French landings on the English coast between 1545 and 1546. Due to the actions of Henry VIII and the establishment of the Tudor navy and the coastal forts the French were defeated.
Decline of the Tudor Navy
The Royal Navy was developed by Henry VIII was allowed to decline under his two immediate successors, the young King Edward VI (r 1547 - 1553) and Queen Mary I, Bloody Mary, (r.1553-1558). In 1548 there were 53 ships in the Fleet, with a total tonnage of about 11,000. By 1558 there were only 26, with a tonnage of little more than 7,000. During the first half of Queen Elizabeth's reign (r.1558-1603), the numbers were not increased. In 1575 there were just 24 vessels; but by the time the invasion of the Spanish Armada, in the twenty-ninth year of Elizabeth's reign there were 34 ships in the Elizabethan Tudor navy.
Tudor Navy - The Spanish Armada
The Tudor Navy of the Elizabethan era with its small ships defeated the might of the Spanish Armada with its large and mighty ships. On July 12th the Spanish Armada sailed with one hundred and thirty-two ships, many of which were the largest ever known at the time. The Spanish ships carried three thousand guns and thirty thousand men. Against this alarming force, the whole Tudor navy could muster only thirty-six vessels, all much smaller than the Spanish ships. The number of English ships were increased by merchants and private gentlemen who fitted out vessels at their own expense. The Tudor fleet eventually numbered one hundred and ninety-seven ships. In tonnage, the number of guns and the number of men the strength of the whole fleet was about one half that of the great Spanish Armada.
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