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one of the most beloved monarchs in history and namesake of the Elizabethan Era, one of the most culturally productive eras in English history
Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace, on September 7, 1533, the only child of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. On May 19, 1536, Henry had Anne executed for alleged adultery and the marriage declared invalid. On July 1, 1536, Elizabeth was declared illegitimate by Parliament. She was raised by Henry's subsequent wives -- Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. Taught by famous scholars such as William Grindal and Roger Ascham, she became proficient in five languages.
Henry died in 1547, and his son became King Edward VI. His uncle, Edward Seymour, became Protector of England, since Edward was only nine years old at the time. Edward's younger brother, Thomas Seymour, attempted to overthrow Edward and kidnap the king. The plot failed, and Thomas was executed. Because Thomas had made overtures of marriage toward Elizabeth, she was implicated in his plot. Although only fifteen at the time, she was able to persuade interrogators that she had had no knowledge of the plot.
Edward died in the summer of 1553, and Elizabeth's half-sister, Mary, became Queen Mary I of England.
In March 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt staged an unsuccessful rebellion. Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London for her alleged role in Wyatt's plot, but was allowed back at court by 1555.
Chronology of Her Reign
Elizabeth succeded to the throne upon Mary's death, on November 17, 1558. She was crowned on January 15, 1559.
1559, April 3--The Treaty of
Cateau-Cambresis brought peace with France.
1560, July 6--The Treaty of Edinburgh made peace with Scotland and annulled Mary's claim to the throne of England, but Mary refused to ratify the treaty.
1561--Shane O'Neill's Rebellion in
1562--Elizabeth signed the Treaty of
Richmond with French Huguenots.
.1563--The 39 Articles established the doctrines of the Church of England.
1564, April 11--The Peace of Troyes brought peace between England and France. England renounced her claim to Calais, on payment by the French of 222,000 crowns.
1565--Sir John Hawkins introduced tobacco to England.
1567, July 24--Mary, Queen of Scots, was driven out of Scotland. Her son, James, was proclaimed King of Scotland. Seeking Elizabeth's help in restoring her to her kingdom, she was imprisoned instead.
1568--The English Catholic College of Douai was founded by William Allen.
1569, November 9--The Northern Rebellion broke out.
1570, February 20--The Northern
Rebellion was finally defeated.
1571--The Ridolfi Plot to assassinate
1572, January 16--Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was tried for treason for conspiracy in the Ridolfi Plot. On June 2, he became the first nobleman of Elizabeth's reign to be executed for treason.
1574--Richard Burbage opened the first theater in England, simply called "The Theater."
1575, November 14--Elizabeth refused the sovereignty of the Netherlands.
1577, December 13--Francis Drake set out on the first English voyage around the world.
1578, March 12--James VI took over the reigns of government in Scotland.
1579--Rebellion broke out in Ireland.
1580, June 5--A proclamation to
restrict the growth of London was issued.
1582, August 22--James VI was captured by the English while out hunting, and imprisoned until June 1583.
1583--The Irish rebellion was
1584--The Bond of Association was
formed, in which loyal subjects of the Queen pledged
allegiance to her and promised to avenge her murder if it
1585--Robert Dudley, Earl of
Leicester, led an English expedition to the Netherlands.
1586, July1--The Treaty of Berwick
was signed, forming a league of amity between Elizabeth I
and James VI.
1587, February 8--Mary, Queen of
Scots, was executed at Fotheringay.
1588, August 8--King Philip II of Spain sent the Spanish Armada against England. It was summarily defeated by Elizabeth's navy.
1589, April 13--Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Norris led a campaign to Portugal.
1591, November 20--Elizabeth founded Trinity College.
1595, July 23--The Spanish landed in Cornwall and burned Penzance and Mousehole.
1597--Essex led an unsuccessful
expedition against the Spanish.
1598, August 14--Irish forces defeated the English at the Yellow Ford on the Blackwater River.
1599--Essex led an expedition to
India Company was established.
1601--A force of 3,000 Spaniards
arrive in Ireland to aid the Irish Rebellion.
Queen Elizabeth died at Richmond Palace on March 24, 1603. Elizabeth never married and thus bore no heirs. She was succeeded by James VI of Scotland, who also became James I of England.
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This page was last updated on January 15, 2019.