CHAPTER 2: Soldiers of the Sixteenth Century
The Gold Of The Northern Seas
The defeat by the English of the invincible Armada, the pride of the Spanish navy, apparently played a major part in the decline of the Newfoundland fishery because the Basques lost many of the ships and sailors mobilized by Philip II. The heavy losses suffered by the Spanish fleet resulted in a sharp increase in the dangers attending sea voyages and in the numbers of pirates, who were mainly English, around the turn of the seventeenth century. The most celebrated of the pirates was certainly Peter Easton, whose base was in Newfoundland. Captured by the Spanish Basque fleet, the base was retaken by Easton and his men after an epic battle. At about the same time, the Spanish Basques' virtual monopoly on whaling was broken by the Dutch and English. With whaling no longer so profitable for the Basques, the "Provincia de Terranova" was forgotten.