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Queen Elizabeth

one of the most beloved monarchs in history and namesake of the Elizabethan Era, one of the most culturally productive eras in English history

Queen Elizabeth I

Early Life

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.
1559, May 8
--The Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity were passed, re-establishing the Anglican Church in England.
1559, May 10--John Knox incited the Scottish Lords of the Congregation to rise against the regency of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, mother. They seized Edinburgh, destroyed religious houses, and subsequently approached Elizabeth for aid in their cause.
1559, July 10--Mary, Queen of Scots, declared herself Queen of England.
1559, October 21--Scottish Lords deposed Mary of Guise for not preventing the French fortifying Leith.
1559, December 18--Elizabeth sent aid to the Scottish Lords by land and sea

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 Ireland.
1561, August 19
--Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland.

1562--Elizabeth signed the Treaty of Richmond with French Huguenots.
1562, May 26--Shane O'Neill led a second rebellion in Ireland.
1562, September 22--Elizabeth signed the Treaty of Hampton Court, giving assistance to the 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.
1570, February 25--The Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Elizabeth and specifically released her subjects from their allegiance to the Church of England.

1571--The Ridolfi Plot to assassinate Elizabeth.
1571, January 23
--The Royal Exchange was opened.

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.
1580, September 26--Drake entered Plymouth Harbor after having circumnavigated the globe.

1582, August 22--James VI was captured by the English while out hunting, and imprisoned until June 1583.

1583--The Irish rebellion was defeated.
1583, December 20
--John Somerville was executed for a plot to assassinate Elizabeth.

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 takes place.
--Walter Raleigh sailed to Virginia.
--The Spanish Ambassador was expelled from England.
1584, July 10
--Francis Throgmorton was executed for conspiracy for a Spanish invasion of England.

1585--Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, led an English expedition to the Netherlands.
1585, June 7
--Raleigh established the first English colony in America, at Roanoke Island, Virginia.
1585, June 29
--Elizabeth again refused sovereignty of the Netherlands.
1585, August 14--Elizabeth issued a declaration that she was taking the Netherlands under her protection.

1586, July1--The Treaty of Berwick was signed, forming a league of amity between Elizabeth I and James VI.
1586, July 17--Francis Walsingham revealed the Babington Plot to assassinate Elizabeth and place Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne.
1586, September 20--Anthony Babington and fellow conspirators were executed.
1586, October 11-14--Mary, Queen of Scots, was tried for her supposed complicity in the Babington Plot.

1587, February 8--Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed at Fotheringay.
1587, April 19--The English fleet defeated the Spanish Armada at Cadiz.

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.
1597--A second Spanish Armada was defeated by bad weather.

1598, August 14--Irish forces defeated the English at the Yellow Ford on the Blackwater River.

1599--Essex led an expedition to France.
1599--Essex was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and sent there. He returned without the Queen's consent and was imprisoned.

1600--The East India Company was established.
1600, August 5--James VI of Scotland was seized by Lord Gowrie, but later rescued.

1601--A force of 3,000 Spaniards arrive in Ireland to aid the Irish Rebellion.
1601, January 7-8
--Essex Revolt against the Queen.
1601, February 19--Essex was tried for treason. He was executed on February 25.

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.

Link of Interest

See Also

Henry VIII
Tower of London
James I
Francis Drake
Walter Raleigh
King Philip II
East India Company

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The Robinson Library >> England >> Tudors, 1485-1603

This page was last updated on January 15, 2019.