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Historian Reveals What May Be the 'Most Important Date in American History' — and It's Likely Not What You're Thinking

"The America that we know would not exist."

Prager University

When considering which date is the most important in American history, July 4, 1776, likely comes to mind, though there's one history professor who says that another day is well worth considering, as it typically flies under the radar.

Prager University

Richard McMillan, an instructor at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California, claims that the defeat of the Spanish Armada on July 28, 1588, was "perhaps the most determinative date in American history," recapping its unique history, which he says actually made America possible.

"In 1588, the most powerful man in the world was the king of Spain, Philip II," McMillan explains in a new video for Prager University.

At the time, Spain was a Catholic country and England was Protestant, with Philip II expressing a number of disagreement with Queen Elizabeth, the English leader of the day (she was financing rebellion by Dutch Protestants in Spanish-held territory and had executed Mary Queen of Scots, whom he preferred), that led him to assemble the Armada with the intention of invading.

Philip II assembled scores of ships and soldiers and attempted to bring them to England, though he vastly underestimated his opponent's resolve.

"You can't hide 130 ships and 30,000 men," McMillan said. "The English knew the Spanish were coming and they were ready for them."

In the end, the English successfully sent the Spanish Armada fleeing, wounding both the military and Spain's power structure.

While seemingly a random event that was disconnected from the founding of the U.S., McMillan said that the defeat of the Spanish Armada actually "made America possible"

"If the Armada had won, England would have become part of the Spanish empire.  There would have been no further english exploration of the North American coastline," he said. "Spain would have ruled America as it did south America. There would have been no 13 colonies, no 13 original United States. The America that we know would not exist."

Watch McMillan speak about the Armada below:

One last thing…
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