When Spain humiliated the infamous pirate “Drake” in La Coruña

About 150 ships and more than 23,000 men. With that number of vessels and soldiers, the pirate Francis Drake set out on April 13, 1589 for Spain. That day, and always under the approval of her gracious majesty Elizabeth I, this buccaneer left England with the aim of destroying the remains of the “Invincible Armada” sent by Philip II a year ago and then also giving a good account of Portugal. However, what the admiral did not know is that he was going to face the Spanish defenses.

In May Drake and his army knocked on the doors of La Coruña. Officially its objective was to annihilate the ships that had managed to escape from Great Britain after the disaster of the “Great and Happily Armada”, which had taken refuge in this port.

The English sails were sighted in La Coruña on the night of May 3 and 4. However, no one could suppose that they came with the intention of devastating the city. For this reason, Don Juan Pacheco (captain general of Galicia) ordered to send two galleys to find out the intentions of the English. And, seeing that huge number of ships arrive from the other side of the sea was not an image, much less reassuring. Unfortunately for them, it was clear that the English were looking for a brawl when they tried to cannonade those small ships.

Encouraged by the huge number of combatants he led, Drake ordered 10,000 of his men to disembark that same day in 14 barges to take up positions. Their advance was slowed down by the cannon shots of the Spanish ships that defended the city, but they finally managed to reach land. In the hours that followed, the assailants took the Fish Market neighborhood, located outside the city walls, killing 70 defenders. The victory was important, because thanks to it they captured the artillery of the Spanish Galleon San Bernardo, which was being repaired at the beginning of the siege.

Just two days later the English asked the defenders (about 1,500) to surrender. Fortunately, the Spanish response was a refusal accompanied by a cannon shot. On the 12th, Drake’s men blew up a part of the city wall, which left them completely free. It painted difficult for the Spanish. However, men and women defended the area from the continuous sieges of the pirate. Thus, until the 16th. That day began in an extremely unfortunate way for the Spaniards, as it seemed that they could not resist another challenge from the British. These, by the way, highly motivated by an ensign waving the flag of Great Britain in the wind.

However, when the defense began to falter, María Pita (one of the combatants, whose husband had died defending the walls of La Coruña) killed the ensign with a spear, stole his flag, and encouraged the Spanish troops, who managed to resist the siege. In the end, Drake’s men retreated to their vessels on the 18th after losing two ships. Another great Spanish victory.

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