Military Wiki
Islands Voyage
Part of the Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604) and the Eighty Years' War
DateJune – August 1597
LocationPlymouth, Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, Cantabrian Sea, Ferrol and Azores Islands

Spanish victory[1][2]

 Kingdom of England
Dutch Republic United Provinces
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of England Robert Devereux
Kingdom of England Earl of Suffolk
Kingdom of England Walter Raleigh
Dutch Republic Jacob Duivenvoorde
Spain Martín de Padilla
Spain Alonso de Bazán
Spain Juan de Garibay
120–150 ships[2][7][8]
17,000 to 20,000 men
(6,000 soldiers)[7]
Casualties and losses
High[1][9] Low[1][10]

The Islands Voyage, also known as the Essex-Raleigh Expedition, was an ambitious, but unsuccessful naval campaign sent by Queen Elisabeth I of England, and supported by the United Provinces, against Spain during the Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604) and the Eighty Years' War.[2][11]


The campaign took place between June and late of August of 1597,[2] and the objectives were to destroy the Spanish fleet of the Adelantado of Castile, Martín de Padilla y Manrique, Count of Santa Gadea, at the port of Ferrol, occupy and destroy the Spanish possessions in the Azores Islands, and intercept the Spanish treasure fleet coming from America as it passed through the Azores.[1][3] The result of the campaign was a great failure for England.[3][4][9] It was led by Sir Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, as Admiral and General-in-chief, Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, as Vice-Admiral, and Sir Walter Raleigh as Rear-Admiral.[11] The Dutch squadron was commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Duivenvoorde.[11] Other notable participants were Sir Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (who commanded the galleon Garland), the Baron Jacob Astley of Reading, Sir Robert Mansell, and the English poet John Donne.[9]

The Anglo-Dutch fleet returned to England with great losses and a war of recriminations between Essex and Raleigh.[9] The Spanish fleets were led by Martín de Padilla, Alonso de Bazán, Diego Brochero and Pedro de Zubiaur.[1] The treasure fleet was commanded by Admiral Juan Gutiérrez de Garibay.[1]

The expedition was the last major naval campaign of Elisabeth I of England.[1][9] Essex's failure to capture the treasure fleet and his failure to intercept the armada that was only forced to turn back by storms as it neared England, contributed to his decline in the queen's favour.[9][12]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The Islands Voyage 1597
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Whittemore p. 167
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wagner p. 645
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wagner p. 646
  5. Heywood p. 199
  6. Jowitt p.121–122
  7. 7.0 7.1 Heywood p. 198
  8. Jowitt p.120
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Hank Whittemore p. 167
  10. Wagner p. 645–646
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Edwards p. 233
  12. Rowse. The Expansion of Elizabethan England 1597


  • Wagner, John A. Encyclopedia of Tudor England. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. ISBN 978-1-599884-298
  • Whittemore, Hank. The Monument: By Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. London. 1609. ISBN 0-9665564-5-3
  • Heywood, Thomas. The Fair Maid of the West: Parts I and II. University of Nebraska Press. 1967.
  • Edwards, Edward. The Life of Sir Walter Ralegh: Life. Vol. I. MacMillan & Co. London. 1868.
  • A. L. Rowse. The Expansion of Elizabethan England. First published in 1955. ISBN 0-299-18824-8
  • Jowitt, Claire. The Culture of Piracy, 1580-1630: Literature and Seaborne Crime. Ashgate. ISBN 978-1-4094-0044-8
  • Hanes, Laura. The Career of the Earl of Essex from the Islands Voyage in 1597 to His Execution in 1610. University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia. 1923.
  • Thomas M McCoog, S.J. The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England, 1589-1597. Printed and bound in Great Britain by the MPG Books Group, UK. ISBN 978-1-4094-3772-7

External links

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