Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England when she was twenty-five. She was very well educated (she could easily speak several languages), strong minded and clever, as well as attractive. Thanks to her political skills and intellect Elisabeth defeated England’s enemies and unified the country setting the roots for England as a world power.
Elisabeth faced the religious issues which had brought a lot of trouble to the country by making the “Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity” thanks to which she was given the title of Supreme Governor. This also allowed evading both Catholicism and Protestantism extremes favoring the formation of the Elizabethan religious resolution.
During her reign, her court attracted poets and musicians and there was a burst of literary works. She founded the Trinity College for the Catholics Irish students so that they didn’t have to go to Oxford or Cambridge as she’d rather not have Catholics around. The Trinity College, which was born as a University of low level is now the most important university in Ireland.
The Queen often travelled around the country on royal journeys so that she could be seen and admired and she used to stay at the main noblemen’s. However, she was unmarried and she used to claim that “the Queen was married to her people”. She in fact used her state as a political weapon since the European princes’ hopes would push them to keep on good terms with England. She thus became known as the “Virgin Queen”.
When Mary Stuart, the Catholic Queen of Scotland, cousin of Elisabeth and heir to the throne married the next in succession to the throne, the Catholic Lord Darnley, in 1565 she reinforced the claim to the throne of England and the Protestant part of the country relied on Elisabeth for its subsistence. Mary had a son from Lord Darnley who was killed not long after the marriage, and she remarried to her husband’s assassin. This conduct was immoral, but Mary was more a passional than a rational woman. Mary’s Protestant enemies took advantage of the situation and forced Mary to flee to England. Elisabeth gave her protection at first, but when her complotting against the Queen was evident, Elisabeth was forced to condemn her to death in 1587.
In the meantime, England became a commercial and seafaring power and the exploration and the trades oversea expanded. Troubles with Spain started to rise not only because of competing interests over the Spanish Netherlands and the New World, but also because English sea-captains were engaged in acts of piracy against Spanish ships. For these reasons, Philip of Spain, who was also the heir of Mary, proclaimed was to England and advanced his claim to the throne. The war against Spain started in 1588 but the Spanish Armada was defeated mostly thanks to the bad weather. After the victory Elisabeth reign reach its apex of glory until she died in 1603.