Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I was queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603.

Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and was born in Greenwich, England on September 7, 1533. Elizabeth was technically third in line to the throne after her half-brother Edward and her half-sister Mary. After the death of both her half-siblings she succeeded to the throne in November of 1558.

Queen Elizabeth I ruled over England and Ireland for 45 years in what is considered a golden age in British history. During her reign the Church of England was established which combined the doctrines of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. She also commissioned numerous voyages of discovery around the world, particularly to the Americas, and launched Great Britain into an age of colonization and trade which would continue long after her reign. She recognized the possibilities of this age by establishing the East India Trading Company in 1600.

In Elizabeth’s royal court the arts were encouraged. She would host numerous plays by playwrights such as William Shakespeare, therefore theaters experienced a boom in popularity.

Although historians consider her reign a success Queen Elizabeth I did not rule without problems. Spain and France threatened to invade England in the late part of the 16th century. For this reason her government incurred great debts to protect its coastline.

Despite these problems, Elizabeth was popular and loved by most of the British people and her legacy is considered a successful one. She died on March 24, 1603 ending her rule.

Text by Sara El-Behiri. The Pelican Portrait by Nicholas Hilliard, 1547 – 1619.