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mailing list archive - EJ, Die Schere #67: Note

Il giorno 13 Jan 01, alle 21:50, Rebing si trov=F2 a scrivere:

>  After the political triumphs of the defeat of the
> Spanish Armada, ending the global predominance of Englands most
> dangerous enemy, and the consolidation of the reign of Elizabeth I the
> country entered a long period of prosperity. Now: are Shakespeare,
> Donne, Purcell indeed indicators of Verflachung?

Sorry but I have to disagree. If you think that the destruction of the 
Armada made England the world-dominating power it became only well 
after 1660, you are acritically accepting an ideologically-biased 
narration of British history that has been questioned and mostly 
rejected by historians. Shakespeare & c. are surely not signs of 
Verflachung (flattening?), but the country entered a long period of 
prosperity only after 1650, with the Puritan dictatorship which gave a 
new impulse to its internationl policy and after Holland was defeated 
and then somewhat incorporated in the 80s of the XVII century.

There are several reasons why the myth of the defeat of the Armada 
was created. Basically it had to hide a military failure, that is the 
insuccess of the expedition to Holand. And the sad truth that Elizabeth 
and her croonies had been scared shitless by the Spanish fleet, partly 
destroyed and scattered by a tempest and only then attacked by British 
ships. Elizabeth retired her army form Holland and imprisoned her 
counselor and lover (unfortunately I can't remember his name) because 
he had (according to her) given her the wrong advice (by the way this 
Dutch mess was the small war where the famous poet Philip Sydney 
died, and his death shocked Liz quite a bit).

What happened in 1588 was that the English rulling elite understood 
they where small fry compared to Spain, and they had to keep a low 
profile untile they weren't richer and better equipped to deal with an 
intercontinental power. Spain declined during the 30 years war, when it 
squadered an incredible amount of money to crush the Protestant 
countries, and it took the best energies of Bohemia, Saxony, Denmark, 
Sweden and a lot of Dutch money. The fact that it was a Catholic 
country (France) to deal the final blow to Spain at Rocroi and Saint 
Quentin is only incidental. By the way, the war ended in 1648, and 
England went to war against Spain (under Cromwell) soon after, 
managing to grab Gibraltar--but Spain was already KO.

I suspect that the real consolidation of the British Empire as dominating 
world power took place only during the 7 years war (1750?) when 
France was defeated as a candidate to the domination of the oceans 
(and lost her posessions in India and North-America). That's when 
Britannia began to rule the waves...

  Umberto Rossi

  "Nothing is so remote from us as the thing 
  which is not old enough to be history 
  and not new enough to be news."


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