Between the 1560's and 1580's many Spanish treasure ships are captured by English pirates, or "privateers," greatly angering King Philip
Part of the reason that Spain invaded Holland was to have a port nearby England where they could attack England in case of a war.
The cost of this was astronomical, at 2/3 the country's wealth.
Mary, Queen of Scots's grandmother was Elizabeth's father's (Henry VIII) older sister. Since Elizabeth had no children, the monarchy was to pass to Mary, Queen of Scots upon Elizabeth's death. However, Mary was found guilty of trying to overthrow Elizabeth and was therefore executed. Because she was Catholic, and Elizabeth (and England) was Protestant, this greatly angered King Philip of Spain. He also felt he had a legitimate claim to the English throne since he was married to Elizabeth's sister (another Mary, who died years earlier). All of these events angered King Philip.
Sir Francis Drake of England destroyed and/or captured 35 ships which significantly delayed King Philip's plans
White returns to England to ask for more ships to help the struggling colony but is refused because all ships are needed to thwart the impending Armada attack.
England hears of the news and is on the watch
Spain anchors at Calais to wait for reinforcements from the Netherlands before invading England
The fire ships were intended to break apart the formation and also ignite the ammunition and gunpowder aboard. The plan worked and the Armada scattered. English ships pursue them and the Armada is driven north of Scotland, and forced to return to Spain.
Half the ships are lost and thousands of Spanish soldiers. The English secretary in Ireland said that within a five mile walk along the coast, he counted 1,100 Spanish corpses. All in all, 63 Spanish ships were lost (no English ships were lost except the 8 that they intentionally set on fire as floating bombs) and 20.000 Spanish sailors were killed (only 100 English men were killed). This conflict didn't officially end until 1604 when a treaty was signed between England and France. England agreed to stop pirating ships and get out of the Netherlands conflict and Spain agreed to give up on the idea that England would once again be Catholic.
Storms thwarted this attempt and wrecked most of the ships
Storms also wrecked this mission