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Armada, fleet of armed ships, in particular Spain's “Invincible Armada,” 130 ships carrying 30,000 men sent by Philip II in 1588 to seize control of the English Channel for an invasion of England. After battles with Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake, the Spaniards took refuge off Calais. Driven out by fire ships, the surviving vessels battled storms as they attempted to return home. Only half of the ships survived.

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