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"The Spanish blockade" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 10:04 p.m. PST

"Negotiations between England and Spain continued while the Western Design expedition was under way. Since 1654, Cromwell had insisted that Spain should grant religious liberty to English Protestants in Spanish territory and that English merchants should be allowed to trade freely in the West Indies. Supported by the Inquisition and the Vatican, however, King Philip IV of Spain would not concede religious freedom to Protestants and asserted that England had no right to trade in the Americas, which were claimed as Spanish sovereign territory.

In May 1655, after Spain's special ambassador the Marquis de Lede confirmed to Cromwell that there would be no concession, secret instructions were sent to General-at-Sea Robert Blake to intercept supplies or reinforcements sent from Spain to the West Indies and to prepare to capture the homeward-bound Spanish plate fleet. However, Blake's orders were ambiguous and he hesitated to provoke a confrontation with a Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent in August 1655. By the time he returned to England in October to refit his ships, news of the attacks on Hispaniola and Jamaica was out and it was clear that Cromwell was intent on war. Despite the protests of English merchants over the loss of Spanish trade, the Council of State supported Cromwell. War with Spain was declared in October 1655. Cromwell issued a manifesto on 26 October claiming that the war was justified because of past Spanish aggression against English colonies in the West Indies…."
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