July 19th Spanish Armada (First Sighting)

On this day in 1588, the Spanish Armada was first sighted off the Lizard Point.

Everybody is well aware of the fleet and its defeat but it is often forgotten that the Spanish Armada was enormous, comprising one hundred and thirty ships.  Fooled by the English, battered by storms  and then losing sea battles with the English, the fleet attempted to return to Spain but lost at least one third of its ships on its way home.

The Lizard Peninsula’s location has made it significant on a number of occasions.  Although the news of the death of Nelson was announced in Penzance, it was fishermen off Lizard Point who first saw the returning Trafalgar fleet and took the news to Penzance.  Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic radio signal at Poldhu whilst, more recently, the Goonhilly Downs Earth Satellite Station was the first to receive live television transmissions to Britain and was the station which received the live film of the first landing on the moon for television broadcast.

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