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Tudor Overseas Fortifications: A Review And Typology

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Chapter Summary

The Elizabethans put their faith in their fleet when directly confronting Philip of Spain, but their other wars were fought on land and therefore required fortifications. To defend against increasingly effective cannon and musket, English military engineering in mid-sixteenth century advanced from half measures and Henrician formulas to adopt much of the trace Italienne system by the end of Elizabeth's reign. The principle of enfilading angles left its mark in the layout of late Tudor fortifications against European enemies or those associated with English expansion in Ireland and the New World. Throughout Ireland, pre-existing structures were re-used: castles, tower-houses, forts, bawns, and even ancient ring-forts. Late Elizabethan military experience in the Dutch War for Independence and in the Nine Years War in Ireland, as well as countermeasures against the Spanish Armada, gave English officers greater familiarity with planning and constructing defenses, which they then used in their new colonies.

Keywords: bawn village; Elizabethan military; Tudor colonies; Tudor fortifications



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