As part of the Holy League, the Spanish defeated the Muslim Ottoman fleet, led by Ali Pasha, at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
Nearly 8,000 Christians who were forced to row under the decks as galley slaves were freed.
G.K. Chesterton wrote in his poem, "Lepanto”:
"And above the ships are palaces of brown, blackbearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a laboring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that swat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stairways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign -
But Don John of Austria has burst the battle line!
Don John pounding from the slaughterpainted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labor under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Vivat Hispania! Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria has set his people free!"
Rather than following up on this victory to free Constantinople and the Greek Islands, the Spanish instead sent their invincible Armada on MAY 19, 1588, to conquer England.
It was destroyed in a hurricane.
Two years later, on MARCH 19, 1590, a boy was born in England named William Bradford.
At age 17, the same year Shakespeare produced his play, "Anthony and Cleopatra," William Bradford fled from England to Holland with the persecuted Pilgrims.
At age 30, he sailed with them to America.
In 1621, William Bradford was chosen governor and reelected 30 times till his death.
The main history of the Pilgrims was William Bradford's journal, published as, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1650, in which he wrote:
"Since ye first breaking out of ye lighte of ye gospell in our Honourable Nation of England...what warrs and opposissions...Satan hath raised...against the Saints...by bloody death and cruell torments...imprisonments, banishments...
What could now sustaine them but ye spirite of God and His grace?...
Ought not the children of these fathers rightly say:
Our fathers...came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto ye Lord, and He heard their voyce."
William Bradford continued:
"All great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties...
Out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing...and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise."
Spanish Armada. Carla Rahn Phillips, Ph.D., Professor of History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. William D. Phillips, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. Carla Rahn Phillips & William D. Phillips, Jr., "Spanish Armada," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.aolsvc.worldbook.aol.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/522940, October 9, 2001. Mark A. Beliles & Stephen K. McDowell, America's Providential History (Providence Foundation, P.O. Box 6759, Charlottesville, Virginia 22906, 1989), pp. 57-58. Bradford, William. November 11, 1620, in his record of the Pilgrims' landing at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. William Bradford (Governor of Plymouth Colony), The History of Plymouth Plantation 1608-1650 (Boston, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856; Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Potter Printing Co., 1898, 1901, from the Original Manuscript, Library of Congress Rare Book Collection, Washington, D.C.; rendered in Modern English, Harold Paget, 1909; NY: Russell & Russell, 1968; NY: Random House, Inc., Modern Library College edition, 1981; San Antonio, TX: American Heritage Classics, Mantle Ministries, 228 Still Ridge, Bulverde, TX, 1988), p. 66. Sacvan Bercovitch, ed., Typology & Early American Literature (Cambridge: University of Massachusetts Press, 1972), p. 104. Peter Marshall & David Manuel, The Glory of America (Bloomington, MN: Garborg's Heart'N Home, Inc., 1991), 11.28. (note: reference to these first settlers as "pilgrims" is owed to this passage.)