Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth I- "Good Queen Bess"

Princess Elizabeth (1533-1558).

Coronation regalia of Queen Elizabeth I 1558-1603.

Her firm belief was that investing in industry, the sciences and arts would make here country stronger. She constantly strove to attain these goals throughout her reign. To her people, tired of the bloodshed rule of her predecessors, Elizabeth was a popular enlightened monarch. With much depth of feeling they took to calling her "Good Queen Bess."

She refused to have any man in a position of authority over her, so remained unmarried. This earned her the title "the Virgin Queen" (and yes Virginia was named after her due to this nickname).

The Golden Hind, the ship of Elizabeth's greatest "Sea Dog" (privateer)-Sir Francis Drake. This ship under Drake's command was the first English vessel to circumnavigate the globe, 1577-1580.

In response to the constant Sea Dog raids of his colonial fleets and possessions, Spanish King Philip II launched the Spanish Armada with the intention of landing an army of conquest in England in 1588. Tradition has it that the Queen Elizabeth appeared before her troops at Tilbury, giving a powerful speech to rally them for the coming battle. In her most famous line she said, "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England." Her strong leadership is often credited with assisting in the great military victory that followed.

The Spanish Armada Campaign was a decisive victory for the English. Virtually the entire Spanish fleet's combat ability was destroyed in action or by the storms that followed the survivors around the British Idles and back to Spain. For minimal loses, the English defeated the greatest power, and largest empire, of the day. Spain would send two more weaker armadas towards England and both would suffer similar fates. Hence forth England's star would be ascending, while Spain's slowly fell from the heaven's.

Elizabeth Tudor was one of the few people who have a period of time named after them. The Elizabethan Age today brings images of England at the height of Renaissance and a Golden Age of advances in the arts and sciences that would soon change the World. When she came to the throne of England, her country was a minor player in world affairs. She left England as one of the up and coming World Powers, a land of enlightenment making its first major steps on the road to become one of the greatest empires in all history.

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