Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Elizabethan Fact of the Day: Mendoza is Dismissed from Court

An engraving of Bernardino de Mendoza, c. 1595. By an artist from the Spanish School. Image public domain.

In 1583, Queen Elizabeth I hosted her last Spanish Ambassador. When it became known to Elizabeth's intelligence network that Bernardino de Mendoza was conspiring with the Jesuits and negotiating with the French on Philip II of Spain's behalf, he was ordered to leave England. Mendoza was told that his dismissal due to his involvement in the Throckmorton Plot "disturbed the realm of England". Directly before his departure, Mendoza ordered the English officials seeing him off to go and, "tell your mistress that Bernardino de Mendoza was born not to disturb kingdoms, but to conquer them."

This threat was never to materialize, however; all of Mendoza's secret plots came to nothing, a few years later, as the Spanish invasion of England failed when Queen Elizabeth I and her navy defeated Philip II's Armada in 1588.

A 16th century painting of the Spanish Armada and the English Navy. By an artist from the English School. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.

Mendoza was involved in at least two plots against Queen Elizabeth I; to learn more about the Babington Plot, which was supported by de Mendoza, please view our article.