Elizabethans

The Elizabethan age (1558–1603) is named after the reign of England’s last Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth I. The period is often referred to as a ‘Golden Age’ of history: England became a major European power in politics, exploration, trade and the arts, while Elizabeth I’s long rule created stability after the shorter, tumultuous rules of her siblings, Edward VI and Mary I. But was Elizabethan England really a ‘Golden Age’? Read everything you need to know about the Elizabethan era…
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What was life like in Elizabethan England – how did people live and die? How did Elizabethans dress? How did people speak in Elizabethan England? What did they eat, what was the social hierarchy, what dangers did they face?
Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the early 16th century ushered in an era of religious division in the British Isles. Though Henry’s daughter Mary I was a Catholic and was determined to re-impose Catholicism during her short rule (1552–58), following Mary I’s death in 1558 Elizabeth I pursued Henry VIII’s policy of rejecting the authority of the papacy, aiming to return England to the Protestant faith. As a result, England's Elizabethan Catholics were persecuted; their Masses were banned and their priests were executed. What was life like for Catholics in a hostile Protestant state? Read more about religion in Elizabethan England below…
Elizabeth I (1533–1603) is one of the most iconic figures in western history. The daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, she was England’s ‘Gloriana’ – a virgin queen who saw herself as wedded to her country, and who brought almost half a century of stability after the turmoil of her siblings’ short reigns. Here’s everything you need to know about the last Tudor monarch…
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–87) was the only child of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. She was married three times: to Francis, King of France (1558–60); Lord Darnley (1565–67) and the Earl of Bothwell (1567–78). Mary had one child with Lord Darnley in 1566, who went on to become James VI and I of Scotland and England. She is remembered for her involvement in an assassination plot against her cousin, Elizabeth I, in an attempt to kill England’s queen and take the throne for herself. Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle on 8 February 1587 at the age of 44
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) lived through one of the most turbulent yet thrilling eras of English history – a period of plague, riots and political and religious tensions – and went on to become one of history's most famous playwrights. His most famous works include Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest. He published 154 sonnets and was a shareholder in the group of players called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, who built their own theatre called the Globe in London. So, how was William Shakespeare shaped and influenced by Elizabethan England? And why was Elizabethan drama so popular?
We bring you everything you need to know about England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The victory over the fleet of Spanish ships, which was led by Medina Sidonia with the purpose of overthrowing Queen Elizabeth I, is considered one of England’s greatest military achievements
The 'golden age' of exploration began in the 15th century and lasted more than 200 years, due to advancements in the practical skills of navigation that allowed explorers from Sir Francis Drake to Sir Walter Ralegh to thrive…