Queen Elizabeth’s Gunpowder

By E.W. Bovill, published August 1947


Trade in maritime stores and sugar with Morocco had been carried on by Tudor vessels for many years, to the fury of the Portuguese authorities who regarded Africa as their own legitimate fiefdom. Driven out of Agadir in 1541, th Portuguese thereafter blamed the English for having supplied the arms. Blamed by Spain for having permitted the ‘English heretics’ to trade with the Moors, Portugal was even further embarrassed. Driven by the need to placate Philip of Spain Elizabeth relucantly gave up the arms trade, but her overwhelming need for saltpetre which was still available in Morocco although unobtainable in Europe, caused her to trade saltpetre for cannon balls. This was a secret agreement, so no official rccords of this now exist.

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Filed under: Tudors | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

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