Immediately after the failure of the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth I prepared a retaliatory fleet that was even larger than its predecessor.
It was called the English Armada and its objective was to take advantage of the weakness of the Spanish navy following the defeat of the so-called Invincible Armada, deal a devastating blow to Spain and open up the Americas to Elizabeth’s aspirations.
To this end there were three missions to be accomplished.
First and foremost the aim was to destroy the Spanish Armada which had returned to Santander in urgent need of repair. If this were achieved it would leave Spain without a fleet in the European Atlantic.
This would open the way for the accomplishment of the second mission: the conquest of Lisbon, the conversion of Portugal into a satellite of England and access to the Portuguese empire. In order to achieve this, the mission was taken to the Prior of Crato, pretender to the Portuguese throne that Philip II had just inherited from his mother, Isabella of Portugal. Crato had earlier signed a number of detailed clauses which, if they had been implemented, would have transformed Portugal into an English protectorate.
The third mission was for the English to position themselves in the Azores and capture the fleet from the West Indies. This would make England the new mistress of the Atlantic and ready to take over the Spanish ocean routes.