Britain in the reign of Elizabeth

       Many researchers believe that there has been no greater period in English history than the reign of Elizabeth, who was proclaimed queen in 1558.

       At this time the most critical question in England was that of religion. In 1558 a large proportion of English people were still indifferent in religious matters, and the power of the crown was very great. It was quite possible, therefore, for the ruler to control the form which the religious organisation of the people should take. Elizabeth chose her own ministers, and with then exerted so much pressure over Parliament that almost any laws that she wanted could be carried through.

       She and her ministers settled upon a middle course going back in all matters of church government to the system of Henry VIII. To carry out this arrangement two important laws, known as the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Uniformity, were passed by Parliament. According to these laws, the regulation of the English Church in matters of doctrine and good order was put into the hands of the Queen, and she was authorized to appoint a minister or ministers to exercise these powers in her name.

       Thus the Church of England was established in a form midway between the Church of Rome and the Protestant churches on the continent of Europe. It had rejected the leadership of the Pope, and was not Protestant like other reformed churches. From this time onward the organisation of the English church was strictly national.

       The political situation in England was not simple by the time Elizabeth took the throne. England was in close alliance with Spain and at war with France. Elizabeth managed to make peace with France, which was vitally necessary for England: her navy was in bad condition, troops few and poorly equipped, and treasury empty.

       One of the most significant internal problems of England during that period was pauperism, since the changes, rebellions and disorders of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I had left much distress and confusion among people. Many men were out of work, prices were high and wages low, trade irregular. In one field, however, there was a great success. The restoration of the coinage took place; the old debased currency had been recoined to the new standards. This was one of the most beneficial actions of the long reign of Elizabeth. Also, in 1563 a long act for the regulation of labor was passed. It was known as the Statute of Apprentices and settled, among others, an approximate twelve-hour day of labour.

       The rivalry among Elizabeth and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots became another chief political affair of sixteenth century, which finally led to Mary’s long imprisonment and execution. In 1588 the war with Spain broke out. The most significant battle (and of historical meaning) of that conflict was the navy one. On July 30, 1588, the Invincible Armada of the Spanish was almost completely destroyed by much smaller fleet of the British under Lord Howard of Effingham command (although it’s been assumed that the great deal of success in the battle was brought by the terrible storm that swept away the large part of the Spanish fleet).

       The last ten years of Elizabeth’s reign were a period of more settled conditions and greater interest in the arts of peace, in the progress of commerce, and in the production and enjoyment of works of literature. The reign of Elizabeth revealed several quite gifted and talanted English people who did a lot to widen the influence of England. Probably the most famous of them was Sir Francis Drake. The first one, n\being a corsair and a sea captain in Elizabeth’s service, leaded a number of sea expeditions, mainly in Atlantic and Pacific oceans, bringing a lot of new knowledge of the world, and discovered a sound, later named after him.

       In cultural aspect, the real crown of the age was the Elizabethan literature, with such bright writers as William Shakespeare, Philipp Sidney and Edmund Spencer.


Дата: 2019-07-24, просмотров: 108.