ELIZABETH I
September 28, 2003


World History


This report will show that Elizabeth 1 was one of England’s most significant and influential rulers by discussing her accomplishments and the effect she had on England and its people. Elizabeth was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, on September 7, 1533. Henry and Anne were England’s king and queen at the time. Elizabeth was third in line as heir to the throne, behind King Henry’s other children, Edward and Mary. Henry was extremely disappointed when Elizabeth was born because he wanted a son to be an heir to the throne.


Elizabeth 1 was born in London on September 7,1533. She spent her childhood away from the Royal Court, but received a phenomenal education by being taught by famous scholars such as Roger Asham and William Grindel. By the time Elizabeth was an adult, her passion for language led her to be able to speak up to five different languages.


After Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536, Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, became Queen. She became very fond of Elizabeth, and allowed her back to the Royal Court. Elizabeth remained in Catherine’s charge after Henry’s death.


Elizabeth was the youngest of the three siblings. Edward was Elizabeth’s half brother, Henry’s son. Mary, also, was a half-sibling, Henry’s daughter.


Henry wanted to dissolve his marriage with Anne Boleyn because she did not bear him a male heir. He asked Parliament to declare the marriage invalid, which they did. Parliament made the decision that the marriage was invalid. However, this decision questioned if Elizabeth was a legitimate heir to the throne. Parliament later decided that she was, in fact, a legitimate heir to the throne


Elizabeth was third heir to the throne, behind Edward, and Mary. Edward became King when Henry died. When Edward ruled England, Protestancy was the dominant religion amongst the people of England, putting Catholicism in the minority. Upon Edward’s death, Mary became Queen. Elizabeth became a supporter of her sister Mary and refused to support the revolt led by the English soldier and conspirator Sir Thomas Wyatt. Mary, a devout Roman Catholic, was made uneasy by the Protestantism of Elizabeth and her potential threat as an heir to the throne. In 1554, Mary had Elizabeth imprisoned on the false charge of having been involved in Wyatt’s rebellion. She was later released, having an outwardly professed Roman Catholicism, and regained Mary’s favor. Also, when Mary became ruler of England, she changed the religion to Catholicism. After a period of time, Catholicism was the common religion, and Protestancy was then in the minority. When Mary died in 1588, Elizabeth became Queen, beginning one of the greatest eras in England’s history.


At the time of Elizabeth’s accession, England was torn by religious discord, was economically insecure, and was involved in a disastrous war with France. Religion was her initial problem as a queen. She reverted to Protestantism immediately after Mary’s death, and her first Parliament (1559) had a Protestant majority. Between 1559 and 1563, this Parliament passed religious legislation that became the doctrinal basis of the Church of England. In the Elizabethan Compromise, the Church became the established church, and throughout Elizabeth’s reign Roman Catholics and Puritans were persecuted.


The war of the English and French was resolved by a document called the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. After the conclusion of the war, England was able to develop industrially and economically. Under Elizabeth’s reign, the government began to regulate commerce and industry on a national scale. For instance, a new system of standard coinage was introduced in 1560, replacing the silver coins that had been devalued during the preceding three reigns. Consequently, prices decreased to normal levels and confidence in the English economy was restored.


Under Elizabeth’s rule, a system of trade was initiated. Foreign trade was encouraged by the government, and became a great capitalistic venture. The Royal Exchange of London was opened in 1566, and the company of merchants that later became the English East India Company was contracted in 1600.


Elizabeth’s most significant problem involved her Roman Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary sought refuge in England after being defeated in battle by her half-brother, James Stuart, Earl of Moray. Elizabeth immediately imprisoned Mary because the Catholic sovereigns of Europe and her own