Henry the Eighth, rotund king of England had pulled away from the Catholic church because they wouldn´t let him divorce his wife.
And so, Henry formed the Church of England, made sure that it permitted divorce, became its head, and then gave Catherine of Aragon the choice of divorce, or losing her head.
To put it kindly, when faced with such a choice, “Discretion is the better part of valour” is written in to the DNA of every Spaniard, and she chose to return to Spain in disgrace. But revenge was in the air...
Later, while Elizabeth I was lending cautious support to the Dutch Protestants, Sir Francis Drake was off on his delinquent adventures in the Caribbean, virtually committing piracy against Spanish ships returning to Spain with their loads of gold and silver. He was also raiding ports in the West Indies, and carrying out attacks on the Spanish mainland, at Vigo and Cadiz, (the attack at Cadiz was on the armada itself, causing a delay that proved vital in England´s victory)
England was also the only other European power that threatened Spanish supremacy, and so, between the Spanish and the Catholic Church, it was decided that they needed to be taught a lesson.
Philip decided to act, and allowed a massive naval force to be constructed. With papal blessing from The Vatican, who were hoping to bring the English back to the Catholic Church, the Spanish Armada set sail in May 1588, the intention being to secure the English Channel and disgorge the 20,000 soldiers aboard onto English soil.
Driven back by storms, the armada finally arrived in the Channel on July 19th, where, sailing in single file, somewhat akin to ducks in a shooting range at a fair, it was immediately and gleefully bombarded by England´s long range naval guns. Thinned by the attrition rate of the gunfire, the armada anchored in the harbor at Calais. There they regrouped and discarded Plan A.
Rather than wait for Plan B, and growing rather peeved at the Spaniard´s refusal to come out and fight, later that night, the English set fire to eight of their own ships and sent them in among the crowded wooden Armada. Panic quite understandably ensued and the Spanish were forced to flee from the blazing English ships in order to avoid catching light themselves. They were, of course, immediately and enthusiastically attacked by cannon fire from the rest of the English ships.
The tattered and battered remnants of Spain´s Invincible Armada sailed up into the North Sea, pursued by the English as far as Scotland. The armada sailed north and around Scotland and Ireland where several ships were wrecked during storms. By the time the Armada reached Spain, it had lost half of its ships and some 15,000 men.
A second, and third fleet was built, but both of these were wrecked by storms in the Bay of Biscay.
After that, it was given up as a rotten idea, and Spain had no trees left anyway.