The Elizabethan Age in some ways has no precedence. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) saw England emerge as the leading naval and commercial power of the Western world. England consolidated its position with the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and Elizabeth firmly established the Church of England begun by her father, King Henry VIII .

When Elizabeth assumed the throne the nation was ready to support her.  The alternative was civil war—her father, Henry VIII, made everyone uneasy. His successors, Edward VI and Mary, brought great discord.  Most Englishmen saw the disaster that would result if England divided again over religion.  So, mostly, people decided not to be religious.  In some ways, then, Queen Elizabeth usher in one of the first “secular” regimes in world history.

Elizabeth understood and fervently sought public support for her person and policies.  She was a masterful campaigner and resourceful public relations experts. She embraced Parliament. “Though I be a woman I have as good a courage answerable to my place as ever my father had.  I am your anointed Queen.  I will never by by violence constrained to do anything.  I thank God I am endowed with such qualities that if I were turned out of the realm in my petticoat, I were able to live in any place in Christendom. . . and though you have had, and may have many princes, more mighty and wise sitting in this state, yet you never had, or shall have, any that will be more careful and loving.”

Elizabeth worked hard and surrounded herself with capable counsellors, counsellors who were honest advisors, not sycophants. Her wise rule brought England out of the Middle Ages to the Modern Era.

Her explorers gave her the world.  Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world and became the most celebrated English sea captain of his generation. Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh sent colonists eastward in search of profit. European wars brought an influx of continental refugees into England, exposing the Englishman to new cultures. In trade, might, and art, England established an envious pre-eminence.  England experienced a cultural

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