Dredging up background: Galicia clear-up challenge could shed light on mysteries of Spanish Armada

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are not the only types counting the days until finally the big scheduled O’Burgo Estuary clean-up in La Coruña.

Funding has been authorised to dredge approximately 600,000 cubic metres of sediment from the mouth of the Galician port to enhance drainage, present flow, drinking water good quality and delivery lanes. 

Even so historians also have their beady eyes on what lies beneath the seabed which could demonstrate Sir Francis Drake’s Armada victory in a a bit a lot less swashbuckling light-weight.

Sir Francis Drake, English Sailor, 1591 (19th Century). Artist: Marcus Gheeraerts, The Younger
Sir Francis Drake, English sailor, 1591 (19th century). Portrait of Drake (c1540-1596), privateer, navigator, naval pioneer and raider, and politician.

It is the prolonged-held perception that sunken English ships commanded by the British Admiral are buried in sediment at the entrance to the estuary.

If this is without a doubt the situation, it could shed mild on an forgotten chapter in Spanish record that has literally been buried by the sands of time. That’s why, before the €8.5-million task starts, an environmental affect assertion is remaining deemed by La Coruña officers to safeguard potentially crucial new evidence.

The subtext of the infamous defeat of the Spanish Armada is nicely acknowledged. The vastly outstanding ‘Invincible Navy’ of Spain was defeated in the waters off England by inclement temperature, very poor tactic and by quicker, much more nimble English ships beneath Drake’s command.

A 12 months later on, swelled by national pleasure, Sir Francis sailed to La Coruña to travel property the benefit of what he viewed as freshly-acquired English naval dominance. His program was to demolish what was remaining of the depleted Spanish Navy. 

But issues did not go very well for Sir Francis, even while his fleet of 150 ships and 23,500 men enormously outnumbered the 4 Spanish galleons and 1,500 soldiers docked in the defenseless Atlantic harbour. 

A heroic resistance by the Spanish troops and regional militia held off the invading English although, in accordance to legend, it was the females of the city who in fact pressured the retreat. 

In just one occasion a female named Maria Pita was aiding her spouse in beat when he was killed by a spear. Comprehensive of rage, she snatched the spear and killed the attacker. The gentleman was Admiral Drake’s brother.

One more woman instrumental in that battle was Ines de Ben. From her tiny metal shop, she was in a position to manner weapons and ammunition. Wounded two times in the head and thigh, she heroically carried stone and sandbags to fortify the defensive positions.

In the harbour, Spain’s galleons ended up capable to entice, and later sink, an undetermined quantity of ships close to the entrance to the estuary.

La Coruna Battle Feauture Cultura 3


Drake retreated demoralised. Artifacts this sort of as cannon balls, dishes, cash and a 2.5 metre English brass cannon have been salvaged but place, the timeline, and other specifics have grow to be unclear around the earlier 450 many years.

Following failing to deliver the knockout blow to the Spanish Navy at La Coruña, Drake went on to Lisbon in which he was not able to stir up a Portuguese rebellion versus Spain.

In a past-ditch energy to build English dominance in the Atlantic, he also failed to acquire the Azores and Spain remained a major naval ability on the worldwide stage for one more 200 years.

Captura De Pantalla 364

The environmental affect report, authored by Arqueo-Atlantica Consultants, recommends that long term dredging will take into account the ‘safeguarding of this heritage’. 

The agency classifies the estuary as an ‘underwater place of terrific archaeological potential’. The hope is that the vital environmental dredging get the job done will function in live performance with archaeologists to add to the historic history even though also strengthening the O’Burgo Estuary ecosystem.

A statue of Maria Pita dominates La Coruña’s central plaza. As she seems to be down on her wonderful metropolis and harbour. My guess is that she, way too, would agree with these sentiments… 

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