At the turn of the 17th century, England was at war with Spain. Declarations of war were a mere formality, and never made. When a combined attack of the Spanish Armada and army made landfall on the shores of England, the tide of history was turned forever.
The Spanish forces were repelled, but at great cost of human life and liberty. Although the Spaniards failed in their invasion, they succeeded in their mission. The ascension of would-be Queen Elizabeth I was prevented, and Mary Queen of Scots was crowned. This was due to a backlash against the Protestants who were the target of Spanish aggression. Religious civil war saw the Protestants quickly defeated by superior numbers (not to mention certain favor from the Pope).
But the consequences were far greater than certain entry to the Kingdom of Heaven. Once it became apparent that the English Navy was ill-equipped to defend its shores, the whole country banded together in the common defense. The rich forests of England’s green and pleasant land were hewn to build more and more warships. Technology advanced at a prodigious rate; but this was limited to manoeuverability and firepower of naval ships.
Life on shore went into decline. The only industry was in the production of ships. Able-bodied men joined the navy, and the disabled, the criminal, and the otherwise ineligable stayed on shore.
In light of the growing arms race between England and Spain, the costal nations of Europe: France, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, even Denmark and Sweden became embroiled in the constant fight for naval supremacy. The landlocked nations, such as Prussia were sacked for timber, iron, and every other resource. Without the war machine to feed, these nations grew rich and opulent.
Two hundred years have passed since the Spanish invasion of England. Numerous wars have been fought- never with a clear winner. Alliances are gained and lost day by day. England’s greatest threat is the ever-present Spain. Life on shore continues much the same as it has for generations. This is the day the fleet returns to take on a new crew.