The Elizabethan Era (1558-1603) is named after Queen Elizabeth I. This period in England’s history is considered a time of great prosperity, religious peace, scientific discovery, and the arts. Some argue that the Elizabethan era was England’s greatest era, while others argue that the Period of Tudor Kings and Queens, that followed, was greater.
When Queen Elizabeth took over rule, England was in financial trouble. Previous rulers had put the country into a great amount of debt. Under Elizabeth, not only was England able to become debt free, but also over several years Elizabeth was able to save up a surplus of money for the country. During this period, England also benefited from having a government that was well organized and effective. The primary characteristics of the Elizabethan Era that you will want to touch on in your research paper are:
- A time of prosperity for England
- A cultural Renaissance
- Age of exploration
- An era in which England was debt free
Elizabethan Era and Exploration
During the Elizabethan era resources were invested in exploration and colonization of the Americas. Queen Elizabeth asked Hawkins and Drake to take treasure off Spanish ships off the coast of West Africa. She also encouraged the attack of Spanish ports in the Americas. One of the most well known explorers of this time period was Sir Francis Drake who circumnavigated the globe. In 1584, Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Walter Raleigh a charter that allowed him to sail to the Americas and set up the Roanoke Colony of Virginia, named after the Queen. The purpose of this colony was to find riches and provide opportunity for England to continue its battle against Spanish fleets. The colony of Roanoke was unsuccessful and the reason for its demise still remains a mystery today.
The arts, theater in particular, is what the Elizabethan area is most known for. William Shakespeare’s dramas were first performed during this time. Music, poetry, and literature were very important during this era.
Elizabethan Era was the Golden Age
The Elizabethan era is a period that offers numerous fascinating topics for exploration and analysis in a scholarly research paper. Historians define the era as the period loosely coinciding with the reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth I, from 1558 to 1603. Yet the impacts of the era are scarcely confined to this 44-year frame, for many regard Elizabeth I as England’s greatest queen and the Elizabethan era as the Golden Age of English history. Many of the triumphs of the era were possible because of the relative internal stability which prevailed following the bloody religious struggles that erupted in the wake of the English Reformation. Further bitter struggles would erupt between monarchy and parliament when the era was over.
The relative stability of the era enabled great (but imperfect) English explorers like Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh to join the Age of Discovery. The Elizabethan era also coincided with the height of the English Renaissance, a period when the country’s artistic, cultural, and intellectual life flourished as never before. Among much else, it saw the opening of England’s very first theatres and the creative outpourings of geniuses like William Shakespeare. Yet for all of its triumphs, the Elizabethan era was also a savage, unhealthy, and brutal period. Furthermore, it failed to resolve some of the grave challenges facing England at the time—a fact evident, for instance, in the exodus of disgruntled Puritans to America in the decades after the era ended.