In 1553 Mary Tudor ascended the English throne, who restored Catholicism but he incurred the hostility of the population, mostly Protestant. At his death was two candidates for the succession:
- Elizabeth Tudor, born in wedlock (illegitimate for Catholics) of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn;
- Mary Stuart, Catholic, Queen of Scots and wife of the French King Francis II. With her England risked depend on France.
The English Parliament, largely Protestant, Elizabeth leaned that in 1558 was crowned.
The kingdom of Elisabeta was one of the most prosperous periods in English history.
Elizabeth started a modernizzazioen the country process, which favored rapid economic growth in all sectors. Ran the economy according to the dictates of mercantilism. International trade was the focus of development: the crown promoted the privileged companies, companies with a monopoly on the trade in a particular aera, but also made use of pirates, who preyed on Spanish and Portuguese vessels;
She brought stability after years of religious changes to state leaders: became protestant but not persecuted Catholics. The climate of social peace favored the revival of culture.
Maria Stuart, fled Scotland after trying to reintroduce Catholicism, took refuge with Elizabeth. In 1587 she was executed for plotting against the British sovereign. Philip II took the opportunity to declare war on Elizabeth. In 1588 the Spanish fleet was defeated by the English. The war continued until 1604. Both monarchs died. At her death, the throne of England passed to James Stuart, son of Mary, who unified the Kingdom of Scotland and to England.