A few years ago I had the opportunity to trace a part of my family history back to 16th century Spain. My ancestor was a Spanish sailor. The Spanish fleet was sent by King Philip of Spain to invade England but when they engaged the English fleet at the Battle of Gravelines in 1588 the Spaniards were hopelessly out maneuvered by the tactics of Sir Francis Drake. During the retreat of the Spanish fleet to the north around the British Isles and then south along the west coast of Ireland a storm wrecked some of the retreating Spanish ships and some of the crews were able to survive after making it ashore. One of those that made it ashore and survive was an ancestor of mine. My ancestor's surname was very Spanish sounding and actually meant castle builder in Spanish. My family's named evolved from there to it's present day form somewhere during the 17th century. No it is not the name you see on my profile, that is another side of my family. The Gallagher name was present in Ireland long before the Spanish Armada. After reading accounts of how the survivors of the Spanish Armada in Ireland were treated I understood better where my fighting and survival instincts come from. In order to survive that ordeal a person would have to be one heck of a swimmer, fighter, survior and be in the good graces of God.
Just recently I was reminded of all this history that I had researched a few years ago. The movie "Elizabeth" was just released and it is supposed to be about this power struggle between two powerful European nations; Spain and England in the 16th century. The Spanish King Philip sent a huge fleet of ships to invade England to wrest control from Elizabeth the Queen of England. I plan on going to see this movie because of my extreme interest in seeing an event portrayed in history that had a direct effect on who I am today.
The Doubt of Future Foes
The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy;
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects' faith doth ebb,
Which should not be if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of joys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by changed course of winds.
The top of hope supposed the root upreared shall be,
And fruitless all their grafted guile, as shortly ye shall see.
The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The daughter of debate that discord aye doth sow
Shall reap no gain where former rule still peace hath taught to know.
No foreign banished wight shall anchor in this port;
Our realm brooks not seditious sects, let them elsewhere resort.
My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ
To poll their tops that seek such change or gape for future joy.
Elizabeth I (1533-1603)