In its origin, Ferrol was a fishing port. However, its development was due to Philip V, who recognized the strategic value of its estuary and built the arsenal in A Graña and the shipyards. Ferrol went on to control the maritime interests of Spain in the North Atlantic, threatened by England.
In the 1580s, the conflict in the Netherlands drew England into war with Spain, creating a further menace to Spanish shipping. The effort to neutralize this threat led to a disastrous attempt to invade England.
La Coruna’s port of Ferrol is the naval base from which the Spanish Armada sailed during Spain’s quest to conquer England in 1588. The mission, which ended in disaster, suffered as much from bad seas and poor navigation as it did by the onslaught of the smaller boats of the more able and better gunned British naval fleet.