Elizabethan Era

Topics: Elizabeth I of England, Historical eras, Francis Drake Pages: 2 (611 words) Published: December 19, 2010
The Victorian era and the early twentieth century idealised the Elizabethan era. The Encyclopædia Britannica still maintains that "The long reign of Elizabeth I, 1558-1603, was England's Golden Age...'Merry England,' in love with life, expressed itself in music and literature, in architecture, and in adventurous seafaring."[1] This idealising tendency was shared by Britain and an Anglophilic America. (In popular culture, the image of those adventurous Elizabethan seafarers was embodied in the films of Errol Flynn.)[2] In response and reaction to this hyperbole, modern historians and biographers have tended to take a far more literal-minded and dispassionate view of the Tudor period. Elizabethan England was not particularly successful in a military sense during the period. The grinding poverty of the rural working class, which comprised 90 percent of the population, has also received more attention than in previous generations. The Elizabethan role in the slave trade and the repression of Catholic Ireland—notably the Desmond Rebellions and the Nine Years' War—have also drawn historians' attention. Despite the heights achieved during the era, the country descended into the English Civil War less than 40 years after the death of Elizabeth.[citation needed] On balance, it can be said that Elizabeth provided the country with a long period of general if not total peace, and generally increasing prosperity. Having inherited a virtually bankrupt state from previous reigns, her frugal policies restored fiscal responsibility. Her fiscal restraint cleared the regime of debt by 1574, and ten years later the Crown enjoyed a surplus of £300,000.[3] Economically, Sir Thomas Gresham's founding of the Royal Exchange (1565), the first stock exchange in England and one of the earliest in Europe, proved to be a development of the first importance, for the economic development of England and soon for the world as a whole. With taxes lower than other European countries of the period,...
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