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The Elizabeth Age (1558-1603)

In 1533 King Henry V111 broke away from the Catholic church in Rome because the pope didn’t allow him to divorce his first wife. Henry starter the church of England, and England became a Protestant country. When his Catholic daughter Mary became queen in 1553 she tried to make the country Catholic again; she even married King Philip 11 of Spain, the leading Catholic country in Europe. But Mary died in 1558 and Elizabeth, Henry’s other daughter and a protestant, became queen.
During her reign England became the leading protestant country in Europe.
In 1588 Philip 11 of Spain senta n enormous fleet, called the ‘Armanda’ in Spanish, to attack England. The attack failed because of bad weather and the tactics of the smallet English ships, and more than 11,000 Spanish soldiers were killed.
England became an important sea power, and began to attack Spanish ships in the Atlantic and explore the Americas. Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) tried to start a colony in Virginia in North America. He called it ‘Virginia’ because the queen Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen, meaning she wasn’t married. The colony failed-the people weren’t happy there-but he brought potatoes back to England. Sir Francio Drake (1504-96) explored more than the Americas: in 1577-80 he was the first Englishman to sail in the world.

In this peiod there was a lot of activity in all the arts: architecture, painting, music and poetry. But in drama the actinity was extraordinary. There were many playwriters, such as Christopher Marlowe (1564-93), who wrote Doctor Faustus, and Shakespear’s friend Ben Jonson (1572-1637), and several others, nut Shakespear has become a writer who is known everywher in the world.

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