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(1533-1603) Queen of England & Ireland (1558-1603)
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Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the last Queen of England and Ireland (1558-1603) of the Tudor dynasty established in 1485 by Henry VII, her reign later became known as the "Elizabethan Age". "The Virgin Queen", daughter of King Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn considered by Roman Catholics as illigitimate, inherited an England divided by religion but governed ably during what could otherwise have been a very turbulent period in the country's history. The English Renaissance flourished under her rule which also saw economic expansion and the growth of the wool trade. The exploits of the mariners of her reign have attained an almost legendary status.

She is certainly a great Queen and were she only a Catholic she would be our dearly beloved. Just look how well she governs! She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all . . .

  - Pope Sixtus V, c.1588

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Early Years

Elizabeth was born on September 7th, 1533, at the royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London, the second daughter of Henry VIII (1509-1547) and only surviving child of his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

Elizabeth was recognised as the heir to the throne at the time of her birth although, because the circumstances of her parents' marriage (chiefly the divorce of Henry VIII from the Catholic Catherine of Aragon), Elizabeth was considered by Roman Catholics to be illegitimate. Her older half-sister, Mary Tudor (b.1515, later Queen Mary I, 1553-1558), the only surviving child of the king's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was passed over and made to serve in Elizabeth's household.

Elizabeth's childhood, unlike that of her half-sister Mary's, was comparatively happy and she recieved an extremely thorough education in literature, languages and music. Her life before her accession to the throne was not without its dangers and, at the time of Wyat's rebellion, Queen Mary had her imprisoned in the Tower of London for a time.

The fortunes of the two-year-old princess and heir to the throne changed suddenly on the execution of her mother for treason in May 1536 and the birth of a male heir, Edward (later Edward VI), to Henry by his third wife, Lady Jane Seymour, in October 1537. Elizabeth was now placed in the same position as Mary had been at her own birth. To legitimise the new-born prince as Henry's heir, both his royal half-sisters were declared illigitimate.

All of King Henry's later wives treated Elizabeth and Mary kindly and Elizabeth was devoted to her father. Following Henry's death in 1547, he was succeeded to the throne by the young Edward VI and Elizabeth was placed in the care of her father's last wife, Catherine Parr, and her new husband, Thomas Seymour (c.1508-1549), Lord High Admiral, brother of Jane Seymour and uncle to the new king.

Seymour was attracted to the young Elizabeth who may have responded in kind. He hoped to marry her after Catherine's untimely death shortly after the birth of their child, but was executed (as was his brother Edward, the Lord Protector, later) in a series of power struggles during the minority of Edward VI.

Under the aegis of Catherine Parr, Roger Ascham, and their associates, the princess Elizabeth was raised as a Protestant. She also received a fine education, an exceptional eduction for a woman of the time, under the tutelage of various scholars, including Ascham, renowned as author of "The Schoolmaster". She learnt the classics, history, mathematics, poetry, and languages and could speak and/or write capably in six languages during her reign: her native English, French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, and Greek.

Yea, I believe, that beside her perfect readiness in Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish, she readeth here now at Windsor more Greek every day than some prebendary of this church doth read Latin in a whole week.

  - Roger Ascham, Elizabeth's tutor from 1548 to 1550

Elizabeth's position was secure during the lifetime of her half-brother, the king, but the young Edward VI died in 1553 of either tuberculosis or poisoning by arsenic. Following the brief and abortive attempt to place Lady Jane Grey, her staunchly Catholic half-sister Mary came to the throne as Queen Mary I.

The Queen was determined to convert her half-sister to Catholicism and Elizabeth, for her part, was willing to give the outward appearance of Catholic worship although she remained Protestant at heart. Mary saw through the deception and, at the time of Wyat's rebellion, had Elizabeth briefly confined to the Tower of London.

Some believe that it is during her confinement in the Tower that Elizabeth first met the love of her life, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. It is more likely, however, that they had known each other since their childhoods.

Elizabeth's life was spared but her position subject to a new threat when Mary married Philip II of Spain, raising the spechtre of a Catholic heir to the throne of England to secure her forcible return of the country to the Catholic faith.

Queen Mary's vision of a Catholic England was shared neither by the common majority of the Enlgish, nor the aristocracy. On the death of the childless Queen in 1558 however, Elizabeth (who had been designated explicitly as heir by the will of Henry VIII) was the natural successor and accepted as such by parliament.

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Elizabeth came to the throne after Mary's death in 1558 and her half-sister's reign set the stage for an auspicious start to her own; the country was sickened by Mary's persecution of the Protestants and resentful of her marriage to the Catholic Philip of Spain. the new Queen was, in contrast, thoroughly English and prepared to come to a compromise all could accept for the sake of the State.

She was crowned Queen of England on January 15th, 1559 (a date chosen by John Dee as particularly auspicious astrologically to prevent misfortune), in Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Carlisle, the most senior prelate willing to recognise Elizabeth as the legitimate heir to the throne.

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On her accession, she set about the task of achieving a formula which could be subscribed to by both Catholics and Protestants and the resulting Thirty-nine Articles were promulgated in 1563.

The Queen relied on the counsel of William Cecil, whom she created Lord Burghley, for most of her reign. On his death in 1598, his inept son Robert, became her leading advisor.

Sir Francis Walsingham ran a network of intelligence officers throughout Europe, an early form of "secret service". His agents kept watch on any threats to the monarch and it was they who discovered the Babington plot of 1586 which resulted in the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.

Elizabeth showed equal skill in her diplomatic relations with foreign powers and a great capacity for subjugating her own personal interests to the good of the State.

England became established as a sea power and, at home, economic hardship was alleviated by the famous Poor Laws which remained in force into modern times.

The Queen's signature on the death warrant of her cousin and an ever=present danger to Elizabeth's reign, Mary Queen of Scots, was only obtained with much difficulty and delay.

She is said to have been stricken with grief after the tragic death of her former favourite, Essex, and died two years later.

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The Church

In his efforts to secure a male heir for the Tudor dynasty established by his father, Henry VIII (1509-1547) split with the Catholic Church to divorce Catherine of Aragon and threw England into the turbulent rising tide of European Protestantism. With his ardently Catholic daughter Mary waiting in the wings to claim the throne and reverse her father's deeds, and fearful of the loss of their own power, the rulers of England during the short reign of the young Edward VI codified the doctrinal foundations of the Anglican Church with publication of the Book of Common Prayer and sought to entrench the Protestant changes making them irreversible.

When King Edward died in July 1553 (either from either from tuberculosis or arsenic poisoning), the faction led by Northumberland attempted to secure the status quo by placing Lady Jane Grey on the throne. After only nine days, Lady Jane was imprisoned and Mary Tudor on the throne. The staunchly Catholic monarch proceeded to turn her new realm back to the old faith with a zeal which would earn her the nick-name "Bloody Queen Mary".

The new Protestant Queen returned the Church of England to its status before the reign of her Catholic half-sister and try and achieve a settlement of the religious tension which marked her forty-five-year reign.

Within two years of comming to the throne, the Queen reiterated and redefined the monarch's status as Supreme Governor of the Church of England with the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, building on the earlier acts of the same names. Unquestionaby Protestant herself, attempted to steer a moderate path between extremist beliefs. The persecution of Catholics and others regarded as heretics continued during her reign, particularly so in Ireland.

Pope Pius V excommunicated the Queen on February 25th, 1570 (something his predecessor had been reluctant to do). Created an outcast, similar in status to the medieval "outlaw" of the Catholic Church, it became the duty of every Catholic to bring down the reign of the errant Queen thus making it impossible for Elizabeth to continue her policy of religious toleration.

By the publication of the bull Regnans in Excelsis, dated April 27th, 1570, Elizabeth was excommunicated and her subjects released from their allegiance to the monarch.

The St Bartholemew's Day Massacre

The St Bartholomew's Day Massacre began during a holy pageant on the night of August 24th, 1572 when at least 10,000 French Protestants in Paris were murdered and the slaughter of Huguenots spread into the provinces. By the time the bloodbath had ended, the total number of victims is variously estimated as between twenty and a hundred or more thousands.

The religious warfare in France between Catholics and Protestants was unlike any European conflict since the age of the crusades. This was relentless slaughter, carried out by desperate men and women driven by inner conviction to annihilate, root and branch, all those who opposed them in matters of religious conscience. And nothing short of mass butchery would please the vengeful God who commanded the killing.

  - Carolly Erickson, The First Elizabeth, 1983

News of the French massacre of Protestants reached Queen Elizabeth and the royal court, causing shock, disbelief and trepidation, after they had returned to London early in September, at the end of the royal progress that summer.

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In 1559, the year of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth was one of the parties to the Peace of Cateau Cambr�sis that ended the Italian Wars for control of the States of Italy (1494-1559).

The first Turnpike Act was passed by parliament allowing the private maintenance of roads in return for the revenue which could be obtained by the Trustees from users of the roads.

In 1691, the requirement that each able-bodied householder should provide four days' labour annually towards the repair of the roads within the parish (established by an Act of parliament in 1555) was increased to six days.

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Spanish Armada, 1588

The Spanish Armada of 1588

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

- Queen Elizabeth I visiting her troops in the field at Tilbury, 1588

[ I ]



Published by AUTHORITIE.

For the Prevention of false Reportes.

Whitehall, July 23d, 1588

EARLIE this Morninge arrived a Messenger at Sir Francis Walsingham's Office, with Letters of the 22d from the Lorde High Admirall on board the Ark-Royal, containing the followinge materiall Advices.

On the 20th of this Instant Capt. Fleming, who had beene ordered to cruize in the Chops of the Channell, for Discoverie, brought Advice into Plymouth, that he had descried the Spanish Armado neare the Lizard, making for the Entrance of the Channell with a favourable Gale. Though this Intelligence was not recieved till near foure in the Afternoone, and the Winde at that time blew hard into the Sound, yet by the indefatigable Care and Diligence of the Lorde High Admiral, the Ark-Royal, with five of the largest Frigates, anchored out of the Harboar that very Eveninge. The next Morninge, the greatest Part of her Majestie's Fleet gott out to them. They made in all about eighty Sail, divided into four Squadrons, commanded by his Lordship in Person, Sir Francis Drake Vice-Admiral, and the Rear-Admirals Hawkins and Forbisher. But about one in the Afternoone, they came in Sighte of the Spanish Armado two Leagues to the Westward of the Eddistone, sailing in the Form of a half-Moon, the Points whereof were seven Leagues asunder.


[ 2 ]

asunder. By the best Computation, that could be made on the sudden (which the Prisoners have since confirmed), they cannot be fewer than one hundred and fifty Ships of all Sorts; and severall of them called Galleons and galleasses, are of a Size never seene before in our Seas, and appeare on the Surface of the Water like floatinge Castles. But the Sailors were soe far from being daunted by the Number and Strengthe of the Enemie, that as soon as they were discerned from the top-mast-Head, acclamations of Joy resounded through the whole Fleete. The Lord High Admirall observing his generall Alacritie, after a Council of War had beene held, directed the Signall of Battle to be hung out. We attacked the Enemy's Reare with the Advantage of the Winde: The Earl of Cumberland in the Defiance gave the first Fire: My Lord Howard himselfe was next engaged about three Hours with Don Alphonso de Leyva in the St. Jaques, which would certaynly have struck, if she had not beene seasonably rescued by Ango de Moncada. In the meane tyme, Sir Francis Drake and the two Rear-Admirals Hawkins and Frobisher, vigorously braodsided the Enemies sternmost Ships commanded by Vice-Admiral Recalde, which were forced to retreat much shattered to the maine Body of their Fleete, where the Duke de Medina himself commanded. About Sun set we had the Pleasure of seeing this invincible Armado fill all their Sails to get away from us. The Lord Admirall slackened his, in order to expect the Arrivall of twenty fresh Frigates, with which he intends to pursue the Enemie, whom we hope by the Grace of God to prevent from landing one Man on English grounde. In the Night the St. Francis Galleon, of which Don Pedro de valdez was Captaine, fell in with Vice-Admirall Drake, who tooke her after a stout Resistance. She was disabled from keepinge up with the rest of the Fleete, by an Accident, which happened to her, of springing her Fore-maste. She carryes fifty Guns and five hundred Men, both Souldiers and Mariners. The Captours found on board five thousand Golde Ducats, which they shared amongst them after bringing her into Plymouth.

Such Preparations have beene long made, by her Majestie's Wisdom and Foresighte for Defence of the Kingdome, that (setting aside the common Accidents of War), no greate Danger is to be apprehended, though the Spaniards should lande in any Parte of it; since besides the two Campes at Tilbury and Blackheath, large Bodyes of Militia are disposed along

[ 3 ]

along the Coaste under experienced Commandours, with proper Ynstructions howe to behave, in case a Descent cannot be prevented till a greater Force may be drawne together, and severall of the principall of her Majesties Council and the Nobility have raised Troopes of Horse at their owne Charge, well trained and officered, which are readye to take the Fielde at an Houre's Warning. The Queene was pleased to review them last Weeke in the Parke at Nonsuch, and expressed the highest Satisfaction at their gallant Appearance : In soe much, that by God's Blessinge there is no doubte but this unjust and dareing Enterprise of the Kinge of Spayne will turne out to his everlasting Shame and Dishonour, as all Rankes of People, without Respect of Religion, seeme resolute to defend the sacred Persone of their Sovereigne and the Lawes and Liberties of this Country, against all foreigne Invaders.

Ostend, July 27th N.S. Nothinge is now talked of in these Partes, but the intended Invasion of England. His Highnesse the Prince of Parma has compleated his Preparationes, of which the following Accounte may be depended upon as exacte and authentique. The Armie designed for the Expedition is selected out of all the Spanish Troopes in the Netherlands, and consistes of thirty thousand Foote, and eighteen hundred Horse. At Nieuport are quartered thirty Companies of Italians, ten of Walloons, and eight of Burgundians, commanded by Camp-Master Generall Camillo de Monte. At Dixmuyde lie readye eighty Companies of Flemings, sixty of Spaniards, sixty of Germans, and above seven hundred fugitive English, and headed by the two Irish Arch-Traitours, the Earles of Westmorland, and Sir William Stanley. Besides these, four thousand Men out of the old Spanish Brigades are lodged in the Suburbes of Corrick, and nine hundred Reisters at Watene, together with the Marquisse de Guast General of Cavalrie. Volunteers of the first Qualitie are arrived from different Countries, to share in the Honoure of this Enterprize, as the Duke de Pastrana, the Marquisse of Brisgaw, (Son to the Arch-Duke Ferdinand), Don Juan de Medicis, Don Amadeus Bastarde of Savoye, besides many others of less note, whome we have not roome to enumerate. For the Transportation of these Forces, Vessels of all Sortes are prepared at Dunkirk, Antwerp, and Nieuport, fitted up with all manner of Conveniences; the flat bottomed Boates for the Cavalrie have Bridges fixed to them, for the more easie Shipping or Disembarkation of Horse. The Transportes for the Foote containe each two Ovens, to

to bake Bread, in case they should be kepte longer at Sea then they hope to bee. Twenty thousand Caskes are provided at Graveling, with Mailes and Cordage, which can soone be throwne into the Forme of a Bridge: And a greate Pile of Fascines is erected near Nieuport, designed for the fillinge up of Ditches, covering Workemen at a Siege, and other Artes of that Nature. The little Hoyes, and Barges loaded with Arms, Powder and Provisions, are to bee conveyed through Canals cut from Bruges and Ghent, to Antwerp, Sluys, and Nieuport, and soe into the British Channell, The Scheme is sayed to be thus settled, that as soone as their great Armado arrives in Sighte of the Flemish Portes, the Prince of Parma is to get out with his Transportes and joyne them. After which, they are in a Bodie to force their Waye up the River of Thames, against all Impediments, and lande as near London as they can. But whilst these Harbours are so closely watched by the united Squadrone of her Majestie and the States, commanded by the Lord Henry Seymour, it is the general Opinion, that his Highnesse will finde it impossible to put to Sea, and we hope the Lorde Admial Howard will prevent the Spanish Navie from being in a Condition to raise the Blockade.

London, July 23rd. The Lord Mayoer, Aldermen, Common-Council and Lieutenancie of this greate City wayted upon her Majestie at Westminster this afternoone, with Assurances of their hearty and unanimous Resolution, to stande by and support her Majestie at this criticall Juncture, with their Lives and Fortunes, when her invaluable Life, the true Protestant Religion, and all the Priviledges of free-borne Englishmen are threatened by an open Attack from our bigotted and blood-thirsty Adversaries the Spaniards. The Queene recieved them very graciously, and ashured them she did not doubte their sealous Endeavours to serve theyr Country on the present very important Occasion; that for her Part she relyed on God's Providence and the goodnesse of her Cause, and was resolvde to run all Risques with her faithfull Subjectes.

Imprinted at London by Christ, Barker, her Highnesse's Printer, 1588.

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Royal Finances

Unlike her father, Henry VIII who was made the wealthiest king in Christendom by the dissolution of the monasteries, Queen Elizabeth was comparatively poor.

On her death in 1603, Elizabeth I left the monarchy in debt to the sum of some £400,000 - a debt which would plague the Stuart monarchs who succeeded her.

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The Queen's funeral procession started on April 28th and was composed of more than a thousand mourners.

She was interred in Westminster Abbey alongside her half-sister Queen Mary (1553-1558).

Elizabeth's tomb in Westminster Abbey was paid for by the new king, James I. Costing much less, it was not as impressive as the tomb provided for his disgraced mother, Mary Queen of Scots.

Following the Queen's death, the country was thrown into uncertainty. While James I was welcomed peacefully and happily but all did not go well. Soon Robert Cecil (who became the most powerful statesman of James's reign), was writing to Sir John Harington;-

You know all my former steps: good knight, rest content, and give heed to one that hath sorrowed in the bright lustre of a court, and gone heavily even on the best-seeming fair ground. Tis a great task to prove one's honesty, and yet not spoil one's fortune. You have tasted a little hereof in our blessed Queen's time, who was more than a man and, in troth, sometimes less than a woman. I wish I waited now in her Presence Chamber, with ease at my foot, and rest in my bed. I am pushed from the shore of comfort, and know not where the winds and waves of a court may bear me.

Harington, himself lamented the passing of the monarch (Nugae Antiquae) . . .

My good mistress is gone, I shall not hastily put forth for a new master.

. . . while, with some hindsight, Godfrey Goodman, bishop of Gloucester;

After a few years, when we had experience of a Scottish government, the Queen did seem to revive; then was her memory much magnified: such ringing of bells, such public joy and sermons in commemoration of her, the picture of her tomb painted in many churches, and in effect more solemnity and joy in memory of her coronation than was for the coming-in of King James.

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Sir Christopher Hatton   (1540-1591)

The Queen's favourite and Lord Chancellor (1587-91)

Sir Walter Raleigh   (c.1552-1618)

Sailor, explorer, author and courtier.

Sir William Clavell   (-)

Commanded troops in Ireland and was knighted by the Queen (his nephew became a highwayman and was disinherited).

Roger Ascham   (c.1515-1568)

The great Tudor Protestant humanist scholar, tutor (1548-1550) to the future Queen Elizabeth.

William Cecil   (1520-1598), 1st Baron Burghley

Appointed secretary of state at her accesssion, the able Cecil remained the Queen's chief advisor until his death in 1598 when he was succeeded by his son, Robert.

John Dee   (1527-1608)

Noted English scientist with an interest in the occult, scientific consultant to Queen Elizabeth. It was dee who first coined the phrase "British Empire". Awarded a pension by his patron, the Queen, he travelled widely abroad and possibly acting as a spy, but his influence died with his patron in 1603 and he he died in poverty.

Sir Francis Walsingham   (c.1530-1590)

As a diplomat, Walsingham established a network of spies throughout Europe and became famous as Elizabeth's "spymaster".


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The Queen stayed at Bath in 1574 during one of her royal progresses through the West Country and created the town a city by royal charter in 1590.

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which you can view by clicking here or on the dates in the left-hand column.

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1509.Apr.22Death of Henry VII, his son succeeds to the Crown as Henry VIII, aged 17
1533.Sep.07Birth of Princess Elizabeth (I) (-1603) to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn at the palace of Placentia in Greenwich
1533.Sep.10Christening of the future Elizabeth I. Henry VIII so dissapointed she was not a son that he does not attend
1536.Jul.01Mary and Elizabeth declared illegitimate by Parliament
1543.JulTreaties of Greenwich: 6-month-old Mary, Queen of Scots, promised in marriage to Prince Edward, the son of Henry VIII in 1552 and for their heirs to inherit the kingdoms of Scotland and England
1547.Jan.28Death of King Henry VIII, aged 55; Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset becomes Lord Protector in the name of the 9-year-old King Edward VI
1548Roger Ascham becomes tutor to the future Elizabeth I
1550.Jun.04Marriage of Robert Dudley to Amy Robsart
Princess Elizabeth is among the guests
1553.Jul.06Death of King Edward VI, aged only 15; Northumberland proclaims Lady Jane Grey as queen
1553.Jul.19Mary I, the ardent Catholic daughter of Henry VIII by Katherine of Aragon proclaimed Queen of England in London, she undisputedly succeeds to the throne of England - Lady Jane Grey is deposed and imprisoned
The proclamation made at Cheapside Cross and other accustomed places
1553.Aug.03Queen Mary I enters London triumphantly accompanied by Elizabeth
1554.Feb.12Execution of Lady Jane Grey, who had been proclaimed Queen of England by Northumberland on the death of Edward VI, and her husband Guildford Dudley at the Tower of London
1554.Mar.18Elizabeth sent to the Tower for supposed complicity with Wyatt and his rebels
1554.Apr.11Wyatt executed for treason
1554.May.19Elizabeth removed from the Tower to close confinement at Woodstock Manor, Oxfordshire
1555.Oct.16Elizabeth released from Woodstock to return to her childhood home of Hatfield
1558Act of Supremacy (Elizabeth I)
1558Act of Conformity (Elizabeth I)
1558.Apr.24Marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to Francis, heir to the French throne (Francis II)
1558.Nov.17Death of Queen Mary I, her half-sister succeeded to the crown as Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII by Anne Boleyn
Her reign is marked by the rise of England as a sea-power and a flourishing of the arts, particularly literature and drama
1558.Nov.17+William Cecil appointed secretary of state by Elizabeth I
1558.Dec.14Burial of Queen Mary I in Westminster Abbey
1559Death of former Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
1559.Jan.15Coronation of Elizabeth I by the Bishop of Carlisle in Westminster Abbey
1559.Apr.03Peace of Cateau-Cambr�sis; end of the Hapsburg-Valios Italian Wars for control of the States of Italy (1494-). brings peace with France
Sicily and Milan granted to Spain. Queen Elizabeth was one of the parties
1559.May.02John Knox returns to Scotland
1559.May.08Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity passed implementing the Elizabethan religious settlement
1559.May.10John Knox incites the Scottish Lords of the Congregation to rise against the regency of Marie of Guise, the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots
Edinburgh seized, religious houses destroyed. Elizabeth I subsequently approached for aid in their cause
1559.Jul.10Death of Henry II of France; his son, Francis becomes King; Mary Queen of Scots declares herself Queen of England
1559.Aug.18Death of Pope Paul IV, aged 83
1559.Oct.21Scottish Lords depose Mary of Guise for not preventing the French fortification of Leith
1559.Dec.18Elizabeth I sends aid to the Scottish Lords by land and sea
1560Scotland is declared a Protestant nation
1560.Jul.06Treaty of Edinburgh secures peace with Scotland, French undertaking to withdraw troops from Scotland and recognise Elizabeth\\\'s right to rule England; Mary, Queen of Scots claims to the English annulled - but 18-year-old Mary (still in France) refuses to ratify the treaty
1560.Sep.08Death of Amy Dudley (also known as Robsart), wife of Robert Dudley, in mysterious circumstances
1560.Dec.05Death of Francis, King of France and husband of Mary, Queen of Scots; succeeded by his brother Charles IX with Catherine de Medici (mother-in-law of Mary) as Regent
1561O\'Neill\'s rebellion in Ireland
1561St Pauls Cathedral in London is badly damaged by fire
1561Mary, Queen of Scots, invites Elizabeth I to Scotland to attempt to heal their breach but Elizabeth I refuses
1561Mary, Queen of Scots, sent Maitland of Lethington as ambassador to put the case for Mary as a potential heir to the English throne
1561.Aug.19Mary, Queen of Scots, returns to Leith, Scotland
Having lived in France since 1548. Mary is denied passage through England
1561.DecArrangements made for Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I to meet in England (at York or another town) in September
1562Drake and Hawkins make the first English slave-trading voyage to the New World
1562Treaty of Richmond; Elizabeth I makes it secretly with French Huguenots
1562.Mar.01Massacre of Huguenots at Vassay, ordered by Duc de Guise, starts the First War of Religion in France
The wars were to continue, intermittently, until 1598
1562.May.26Second rebellion of Shane O\\\' Neill in Ireland
1562.JulElizabeth I sends Sir Henry Sidney to Mary, Queen of Scots, to cancel their meeting arranged for September the previous December because of the civil war in France
1562.Sep.22Elizabeth I signs the Treaty of Hampton Court giving assistance to the French Huguenots
1562.OctNear death of Queen Elizabeth I from smallpox
1563The Thirty-Nine Articles were promulgated defining the Elizabethan Church settlement and the Anglican faith
1563Outbreak of the plague at Dorchester
1563Publication of Acts and Monuments (better known as the Book of Martyrs) by John Foxe
1563Outbreak of the plague in London
1563Elizabeth I attempts to neutralise Mary, Queen of Scots, by suggesting she marry someone suitable so she could proceed to the inquisition of her right and title to be our next cousin and heir - Mary refused
She secretly envisaged Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whom she trusted and believed she could control
1563An Act against conjurations, enchantments, and witchcrafts (-1604)
1563.Dec.04The Council of Trent hold its last session (after 18 years)
1564Huguenots massacred in America
1564Work starts on the Exter Ship Canal - the first canal in England with locks
1564.Feb.06Birth of Christopher Marlowe
1564.Feb.15Death of astronomer Galileo
1564.Apr.11Peace of Troyes between England and France; England renounces its claim to Calais on payment of 222,000 crowns by the French
1564.Apr.23Birth (reputed as little is known of his early life) of William Shakespeare
1564.May.27Death of John Calvin in Geneva
1564.Jul.25Death of Ferdinand I, succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary by Maximilian II; the rest of the Hapsburg dominions pass to the Archduke Charles
1565Sir John Hawkins introduces Tobacco to England
1565Death of Kat Ashley, Elizabeth I\'s old governess
1565.JulFirst Chelmsford witch trials; first trial for witchcraft in an English secular court
Elizabeth Frances, Agnes Waterhouse and her daughter Joan were accused at Chelmsford in Essex
1565.Jul.29Sudden marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to her first cousin and descendant of Henry VII, the Catholic Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
The marriage precipitated her half-brother and chief counsellor, the Earl of Moray, to join with other Protestant Lords in open rebellion
1565.Aug.28The Spanish land in Florida to establish the first permanent European settlement in America
They name their settlement after St Augustine
1566Netherlands revolt against Spain
1566Law for the Preservation of Grayne passed putting a bounty on vermin payable by the Churchwardens
1566.Jan.07Death of Pope Pius IV, succeeded by Pius V
1566.Mar.09Murder of David Rizzio, private secretary and friend of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse while in conference with the Queen by Darnley and the rebel Scottish nobles
1566.Jun.19Birth of the future James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) to Mary, Queen of Scots
Shortly afterwards, Mary began a liaison with James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
1566.Nov.10Birth of Robert Devereux, future Earl of Essex
1567.Feb.10Murder of Darnley at Kirk O Field, Scotland
An explosion occurred in the house, Darnley found dead in the garden, apparently strangled. Bothwell, generally believed to be guilty of the act, subjected to a mock trial but acquitted
1567.Jun.02Assassination of Shane O Neill, Earl of Tyrone
1567.Jul.24Deposition (abdication) of Mary, Queen of Scots in favour of her infant Protestant son who is proclaimed as James VI of Scotland at Stirling (later James I of England), Moray becomes regent
1567.Oct.06Resignation of the regency of the Netherlands by Margaret of Parma; Duke of Alva takes complete command
1568Defeat at San Juan de Ulua meant the end of the slaving voyages of Hawkins
1568Elizabeth I seizes the treasure of a Spanish fleet driven into Plymouth: Start of the Anglo-Spanish maritime feud
1568First Eisteddfod for Welsh music and Literature is held at Caerwys
1568Foundation of the English Catholic College of Douai by William Allen
1568.Mar.23Treaty of Longjumean ends the second phase of French wars of religion
1568.May.02Escape of Mary, Queen of Scots, from Loch Leven Castle
She managed to raise a small army again
1568.May.16Flight of Mary, Queen of Scots, to England
1568.May.19Mary, Queen of Scots, arrested by the English and held at Carlisle
1568.May.23William of Orange defeats a Spanish force at Heiligerlee marking the beginning of the Revolt of the Netherlands
1568.Sep.30Deposition of Eric XIV of Sweden as he has shown signs of mental illness; succeeded by his brother John III
1568.OctStart of the enquiry (-Jan) ordered by Elizabeth I into the part of Mary, Queen of Scots\' part in the death of Darnley at York
Elizabeth I did not wish to convict Mary of murder
1569.JanEnd of the enquiry (Oct-) ordered by Elizabeth I into the part of Mary, Queen of Scots\' part in the death of Darnley at York finds nothing proven
It was largely based on the 8 Casket Letters
1569.Nov.09Start of the revolt of the Catholic Northern Earls against Elizabeth I
1570Potato is introduced to Europe from Spanish America
1570Elizabeth persuaded by the French into promise to help Mary, Queen of Scots, regain her throne but she insisted Mary ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh (July 1560)which , something Mary refused to do
William Cecil continued negotiations with Mary on behalf of Elizabeth
1570Francis Walsingham chosen by William Cecil to succeed Sir Henry Norris as ambassador to France
1570.Jan.23Assassination of James Stewart, Earl of Moray, half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots\' and Regent in Scotland for her son, James VI
1570.Feb.20Rebellion of the Northern Catholic Earls crushed
1570.Feb.25Elizabeth I anathematised (excommunicated) by Papal Bull of Pope Pius V
An outcast of the Catholic Church, it became the duty of all Catholics to bring down her reign thus making religious toleration impossible
1570.Aug.08Peace of Germain-en-Laye ends the third period of the French wars of religion
1571The Ridolfi plot to assassinate Elizabeth I
1571.Jan.23Sir Thomas Gresham\\\'s Royal Exchange opened by Queen Elizabeth I
1571.Oct.07Battle of Lepanto: Spectacular defeat of Turkish Ottoman sea-power (the Ottomans had threatening east Christendom for a century) by Don John of Austria
1572Dutch Sea Beggars take Brill
1572Parliament licenses theatrical troupes
(The promotion of secular drama and an advance toward the professionalism of theatrical activity)
1572Passing of the Poor Law to deal with rising pauperism
1572Parliament introduces a bill barring Mary, Queen of Scots, from the throne
Elizabeth unexpectedly refused to give the bill the royal assent
1572.May.01Death of Pope Pius V, succeeded by Gregory XIII
1572.Aug.24St Bartholomew\'s Day Massacre: King Charles IX orders the massacre of French Protestants by Catholics
70,000 people are killed, leaving France virtually devoid of intellectual, educational and financial resources
1574Queen Elizabeth I visits Bristol
1575Elizabeth I grants Thomas Tallis and William Byrd the monopoly of publishing music
1576First theatre in England built
1576Frobisher searches for the Northwest Passage
1577Sir Francis Drake leaves to circumnavigate the Earth
He returns in 1580
1577.Nov.29Martyrdom of the Roman Catholic priest Cuthbert Mayne for high treason at Launceston
1578Parma re-establish Spanish rule in the Southern Netherlands
1579The Union of Utrecht; seven northern provinces of the Netherlands form what later became the Dutch Republic
1579Outbreak of the plague at Dorchester
1580Philip II of Spain seizes the crown of Portugal on the death of King Henrique
1580.Sep.26Sir Francis Drake sails into Plymouth on the Golden Hinde ending its three-year voyage circumnavigating the Earth
He set off in 1577
1582.Oct.15Gregorian calendar adopted by Catholic countries
1583First English overseas colonies established
1584Elizabeth II introduces the Bond of Association aimed at preventing any would-be successor from profiting from her murder
Mot leagally binding, it was signed by thousands, including Mary, Queen of Scots
1585English intervention in the war between Spain and the Netherlands
1585Printing was restricted to London, Oxford and Cambridge
The Archbishop of canterbury, the Bishop of London and the Stationers Company exercised supervision over printers and publishers
1586William Camdens Britannia published in Latin
1586.Oct.14Trial of Mary, Queen of Scots for conspiracy against Queen Elizabeth I starts
1586.DecIntroduction of the potato into England from Columbia by Sir Thomas Herriot
1587Sir Christopher Hatton becomes Lord Chancellor
1587.Aug.18Virginia Dare is the first child of English parents to be born on American soil (on what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina)
1587.Dec.08Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Fotheringay Castle after 20 years of imprisonment following the Babington Plot ]]or Feb 28th[[
Elizabeth I had signed her death warrant a week previously, after Mary refused to disavow her claim to the English throne. It is reported it took 3 blows of the axe to sever her head. She was interred at Peterborough Cathedral (-1612)
1588.May.28Spanish Armada sails from Portugal under the command of the Duke of Medina Sedonia
1588.Jul.20+The Spanish Armada is defeated
Fleet of 130 ships assembled by Philip II of Spain to overthrow Elizabeth I. The victory ends Spanish commercial supremacy and domination of the Atlantic and encourages English interests in the New World
1588.Jul.23Queen Elizabeth I meets the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Common-Council and Lieutenancie of London at Westminster
1588.Jul.28The English use fire-ships to scatter the Spanish Armada anchored at Calais
1588.Jul.29Battle of Gravelines: many ships of the Spanish Armada lost or damaged in the eight-hour battle
1590Death of Francis Walsingham (1530-), Elizabethan diplomat, most famous as spymaster to Elizabeth I, leaving considerable debts
1590Bath created a city
Baths popularity as a spa revived during the Elizabethan period
1592Remains of Pompeii discovered
1592Outbreak of the plague in London
1592.JanElection of Pope Clement VIII
1595Spanish raid on Penzance, Cornwall
1595Outbreak of the plague at Dorchester
1595Privy Council decrees that bows are not to be issued as weapons of war
1598French Protestants guaranteed liberty of worship by the Edict of Nantes
1598Death of Philip II of Spain at the Escorial near Madrid
1598Death of William Cecil (1520-), 1st Baron Burghley, long-standing chief advisor to Elizabeth I
His function was taken up by his inept son Robert
1598.Feb.25Solar eclipse visible from Cornwall
1599William Shakespeare\\\'s Globe Theatre opens
1599Francis Carew creates a method of producing out of season fruit
1600Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, tried for misdemeanours after his return from Ireland and loses his offices at court
1600Foundation of the English East India Company
1600. London\'s theatrical scene is dominated by two rival troupes: the Lord Admiral\'s Men, managed by Philip Henslowe, led by playwright Christopher Marlowe and actor Edward Alleyne; and the Chamberlain\'s Men, co-owned by Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare
1600.Aug.05Gowrie Conspiracy in Scotland; James VI seized by Lord Gowrie
The king was later rescued
1600.Dec.31English East India Company founded by a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I
1601The Poor Law forced each parish to make provision (parish relief) for its own poor
16013,000-strong Spanish force lands in Ireland to aide the Irish rebellion
1601.Jan.07Rebellion of the Earl of Essex
1601.Feb.19Essex tried for treason
1601.Feb.25Execution of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex
1601.Nov.20Queen Elizabeth I delivers her Golden Speech
1602Heresy ceased to be punishable by burning at the stake
1602English Fleet capture Portuguese treasure ship
1603.Mar.23Dying Queen Elizabeth I makes a sign to her assembled councilors assembled when Cecil mentions James VI of Scotland regarding the succession
1603.Mar.24Death of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-) of England and Ireland in the early hours
- succeeded to the crown by James VI of Scotland as James I
1603.Mar.27James I receives news of his accession from Robert Carey at Edinburgh
The ambitious Carey road to Edinburgh at a speed only matched in 1832
1603.Apr.28Funeral procession of Elizabeth I
She was interred at Westminster Abbey
1612James I orders the remains of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, to be removed from Peterborough Cathedral to Westminster Abbey
Her remains lie 30 feet from those of her cousin Elizabeth I whom she never met
16523rd session of the Council of Trent

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The Word of a Prince A Life of Queen Elizabeth from Contemporary Documents
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Elizabeth I The Shrewdness of Virtue
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The England of Elizabeth
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Tudor Royal Proclamations
  , ed. Paul L Hughes + James F Larkin, publisher Yale University Press, 1964-1969
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