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Phillip II wanted to return England to Catholicism. If the Armada had been successful then it seems likely that a Catholic king or queen would have been placed on the throne. They would have had the power to overturn the Protestant establishment in the country. No longer would the Church of England be the state church and once again the Catholic Church would have been the only recognized religion in the realm. Phillip II believed that it was right for a monarch to ensure religious conformity in their kingdom. It seems most likely that the new Catholic monarch would have persecuted Protestants in much the same way as Mary I had during her reign. Now while Catholicism would have been made the state religion this would not have seen the end of Protestantism in England.
By the 1580s the Church of England was supported by most English people and they would have resisted any attempt to reimpose the Catholic faith. It seems likely that England would have suffered a series of Religious Wars similar to France in the sixteenth century. However, the failure of the Armada meant that the Church of England was now more secure than ever before. Increasingly, the English people began to see themselves as a Protestant people. They saw Protestantism as an integral part of Englishness and important for their freedom. Many English people became even more anti-Catholic after the Armada. ‘Popery’ as they referred to Catholicism was associated with autocracy, intolerance, and slavery. This anti-Catholicism was an important aspect of English political life for many years.<ref>Bridgen, Susan. <i>New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485–1603</i>. New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 2001), p. 115</ref> It is arguable that the main losers in the Armada apart from all those who died in the conflict were English Catholics.
After the Armada, Catholics known as ‘recusants’ because they refused to recognize the Church of England came under official and unofficial pressure to conform to the state religion<ref> Bridgen, p. 234</ref>. Even loyal Catholics became suspect and as a result, more and Catholics converted to Protestantism. By the end of the reign of Elizabeth, England was a Protestant nation, with only a small and oppressed Catholic minority. The Armada had played an important role in this process. Phillip II had attempted to overturn the religious settlement in England but his attempted invasion only strengthened it. The people of England began to see themselves in providential terms and in biblical terms as an ‘elect nation’ <ref>Krishan Kumar. <i>The
making of English national identity</i> (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 45</ref>. They believed that they were chosen by God to carry out his will and this gave them a new-found confidence. This sense of mission was one that was very important in later decades and was an important factor in the growth of English power, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
===England as a naval power===