Don Diego Flores de Valdés, also spelled Diego Flórez de Valdés or Diego Flores de Valdez (c. 1530-1595) was an obscure and sometimes controversial Spanish naval officer and explorer. He was born in the small village of Las Morteras in Asturias, Spain in the early 1530s, and joined the Spanish Navy in 1550. He initially worked in a ship supplying the Spanish Army in the Netherlands and in 1554, he was part of the crew that transported the future King Philip II of Spain to England for his marriage to Mary I. He also served in the campaign that destroyed the Huguenot settlements in Florida and was one of the officers under Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa during his ill-fated attempt to colonize Tierra del Fuego. Gamboa claimed that Flores de Valdés was the sole responsible for the expedition's failure.
During the preparations for the Spanish Armada of 1588, Flores de Valdés was given command of the Squadron of Castile, the second most powerful after the Squadron of Portugal, led by the overall commander of the Armada - Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia. Because Medina-Sidonia had no naval experience whatsoever, Flores de Valdés was named his chief advisor and led the expedition in practice. Flores de Valdés told Medina-Sidonia to maintain a defensive strategy when it attacked the English fleet, and so was made to take much of the blame for the Armada's defeat. After being imprisoned for 15 months in Burgos Castle, he retired to his home village and died of natural cases there in 1595. A legend claims that he was buried with his head severed from the body to punish him for the failure of the English and Tierra del Fuego expeditions.
Don Diego Flores de Valdes in Ruled Britannia
Don Diego Flores de Valdes succeeded the Duke of Parma as commander of Spanish forces in England following Spain's conquest of the island in 1588. Flores de Valdes was charged with commanding the occupation of England and supporting Queen Isabella and King Albert. His force included Spanish, English, and Irish soldiers.
Flores de Valdes employed Thomas Phelippes as his personal secretary.
A year later, Flores de Valdes' army was defeated and expelled from England by a mob led by Robert Cecil. Flores de Valdes himself rushed forth to join the fight, saying "A general's place is in the van." He left the coordination of Spanish forces in the hands of Thomas Phelippes, who then made sure that Spanish commanders were ill-equipped to meet the rebellion.
Don Diego's final fate is unrevealed.