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BATTLE OF THE GOODWIN SANDS 1602

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BATTLE OF THE DOVER STRAIT 1602, BATTLE OF THE NARROW SEAS 1602
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The Battle of the Goodwin Sands 1602 (Battle of the Narrow Seas, Battle of the Dover Strait) was fought on September 24 1602 as the combined English and Dutch fleets under Sir Robert Mansell and the Vice-Admiral of Flushing intercepted a fleet of Spanish galleys in the Straits of Dover, voyaging from Spain to Flanders, under the Italian admiral Federico Spinola, who was killed at the Battle of Sluis the following year. The battle appears to have taken place off St. Margaret's at Cliffe since three galley slaves jumped overboard and swam ashore there, to be imprisoned in Dover Castle (467778). The result was a combined Anglo-Dutch victory as the combined fleets outmanoeuvred the Spanish in the Downs.

The battle is considered to be one of the actions of the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604, in which the Armada of 1588 also took place (1583091). In the wider international context the battle punctuated the Eighty Years' War between the Netherlands and Spain, with a further engagement between the Spanish and the Dutch in English waters at the Battle of the Downs in 1639 (1582748).

In 1602 there was some conflict over the actual numbers lost, with at least two being rammed and sunk. Other galleys are said to have been "broken" or "spoilt" but it is unclear whether these vessels were actually wrecked in the storm that followed the action, or simply damaged in action, probably having been captured by the Dutch; another account suggests that "three were shot and sunk". There are therefore two records for the rammed vessels, for which see 1572903 and 1572909, and two further 'wrecked' vessels, which may have foundered following gun action; see 1572913 and 1572915. Such confusion is typical of accounts of wrecks in battle, and it is possible that one at least of the rammed vessels was among those "shot". Two escaped, one of which was Spinola's own galley, but one of these galleys is said to have subsequently run ashore at Calais in the ensuing storm.

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