Drake-Norris Expedition

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Definition

The Drake-Norris expedition of April-July 1589 CE, otherwise known as the Don Antonio Expedition, English Armada or Portugal Expedition, was an unsuccessful attempt by a large English naval and army force to destroy the remaining ships of the Spanish Armada of Philip II of Spain (r. 1556-1598 CE), to reinstate Don Antonio as king of Portugal, and to seize Spanish treasure ships in the Azores. The expedition had a mix of private and state financial backing and was led by Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540-1596 CE) and Sir John Norris (aka Norreys, c. 1547-1597 CE), hence its name. Not all parties agreed to the triple aims of the expedition, Drake and Norris ignored the Armada ships, Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE) was outraged Lisbon had been attacked by land and sea instead, and by the time the English had been beaten off by Spanish forces they were too late to catch the treasure ships. A dismal failure with thousands dead from battle and disease, the English fleet returned home with little to show for their hugely expensive efforts and the Anglo-Spanish war dragged on until 1604 CE.

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