100px-Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, 2nd in command of the fleet.

The raid and sack of Cadiz was a dramatic event in the war against Spain.

Lord Admiral Howard, now 60, and the Earl of Essex Robert Devereux assembled a massive fleet in England. It resembled a 2nd English Armada. A grand total of 150 ships were assembled for the raid, and 17 belonged to the Queen herself. They had about 14,000 men. They set sail on June 13th in the year 1596. They were followed shortly afterwards by a further 20 ships and 2,000 men. Arriving at Cadiz on June 29th they realized that about 56 ships, great and small lay in the port at anchor. Five thousand soldiers were hastily brought into the town on orders of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, the ill-fated commander of the long gone Spanish Armada. At two o' clock in the afternoon, 2,000 English soldiers landed and forced the surrender of one of the biggest forts in the port the next morning. Thirty-two ships in the harbor were burned by the British before they left. The city was burned to the ground. It cost the Spanish almost 1 billion dollars.  Four of the twelve new galleons Philip II had built exploded during the sack of Cadiz.