Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Treaty of London (1604)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Location  London, England
Languages  English, Spanish
Treaty of London (1604)
Signed  August 28, 1604 (1604-08-28)

The Treaty of London, signed on 18 August O.S. (28 August N.S.) 1604, concluded the nineteen-year Anglo-Spanish War. The negotiations took place at Somerset House in London and are sometimes known as the Somerset House Conference.



After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, her successor, James I, quickly sought to end the long and draining conflict. James was an idealistic practitioner of Christian peace and unity and also the son and successor to Mary, Queen of Scots, whose execution had been a proximate cause of the conflict. Philip III of Spain, who also had inherited the war from his predecessor, Philip II, and his treasuries had also been drained and so warmly welcomed the offer and ordered the commencement of the difficult negotiations that followed.

The Anglo-Spanish War had been a complex and fluctuating conflict that also had connections with the Dutch Revolt, the French Wars of Religion, and the Nine Years' War in Ireland. The treaty restored the status quo ante bellum. It amounted to an acknowledgement by Spain that its hopes of restoring Roman Catholicism in England were at an end. Spain was compelled to recognise the Protestant monarchy in England. In return, England ended its financial and military support for the Dutch rebellion, ongoing since the Treaty of Nonsuch (1585).

According to historian Kenneth R. Andrews, while the treaty secured the maritime lanes for the Spanish treasure fleet, English privateering had already devastated the Spanish private merchant marine.

According to Fernando Martínez Laínez, between 1540 and 1650 - the most important period of gold and silver flux between the Spanish America and Spain - just 519 merchant vessels were sunken due to storms and other climatological issues out of 11.000 Spanish ships that made that route, only 107 ships were lost due to Anglo-Dutch piracy which means less than 1%.

According to historian Germán Vázquez Chamorro who played down the English privateering attacks to the Spanish treasure fleet. The most famous pirates lauded by the English literature and propaganda used to attack fishing vessels or boats with small value for the Spanish crown, therefore the Spanish treasure fleet lasted until the decade of 1780, almost around 300 years which the Spanish maritime lines were barely affected

Following the signing of the treaty, England and Spain remained at peace until 1625.


  • Spain renounces intentions to restore Catholicism in England.
  • An end to English wartime disruption to Spanish trans-atlantic shipping and colonial expansion (article 6).
  • The English Channel opened to Spanish shipping.
  • An end to English intervention in the Dutch Revolt (articles 4,5,7); England withdraws military and financial support to the Dutch rebels.
  • Ships of both countries, merchants or warships, could use the mainland sea ports of the other party for refit, shelter or buy provisions (article 10). Fleets of less than eight ships did not even have to ask for permission, which provided an extensive network of naval bases for the Spaniards in England to help their war against the Dutch.
  • English delegation

  • Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563-1612), Secretary of State, James I's leading minister
  • Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devonshire (1563-1606), soldier
  • Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608), Lord Treasurer
  • Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton (1540-1614), Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
  • Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (1536-1624), Lord High Admiral
  • Spanish delegations

    The English negotiated with two delegations, one representing the King of Spain, the other the Archdukes Albert and Isabella, rulers of the Spanish Netherlands.

    Spanish delegation

  • Juan Fernández de Velasco, 5th Duke of Frías, Constable of Castile.
  • Juan de Tassis, Count of Villa Mediana.
  • Alessandro Robida, Senator of Milan.
  • Delegation of the Spanish Netherlands

  • Charles de Ligne, prince-count of Arenberg,
  • Jean Richardot, President of the Brussels Privy Council.
  • Louis Verreyken, Audiencier of Brussels.
  • References

    Treaty of London (1604) Wikipedia