Elizabethan Society in the Age of Explorations


Education and Leisure (Education)


- Was becoming increasingly valuable  - Was aimed at preparing you for the life you were expected to lead  - Very few girls received any formal education

New influences

-  Humanists believed that learning was important in its own right. - Prots believed people should read the Bible in their own language and encouraged more people to become literate

In the home 

Nobility: Learned many subjects and skills. Middling sorts and grammar schools: Greatest change in education, were private schools set up for boys from middle class. Punishments were exclusion, corporal. 


30% of men and 10% of women were literate by the end of Liz reign in 1603. 

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Education and Leisure (Leisure)

Nobility and Gentry Sports

- Horseback hunting - Hawking  - Fishing - Fencing - Real tennis

Working people sports

- Football and it was extremely violent, with men being killed during matches

Spectator sports 

- Baiting: A chained bear with dogs unleashed against it, but the bear always won cuz they were expensive - ****-fighting: ****erels wore metal spurs and attacked each other

Past times

- Literature: Most popular form of creative writing were poetry and plays - Theatre: Secular plays were in demand because the endings weren' already known - Music and dancing: Mayn played instruments and listening to music was very popular for all classes

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Problem of the poor

Why it increased

Population growth: It grew by 35%, grew especially fast in towns and cities

Rising prices: Rose more when harvests were bad and supply was down. Wages didn't rise as fast as prices

Changing attitudes and policies towards the poor

Impotent and able-bodied poor

- There was poor relief paid by a special tax called the poor rate. Vagrants were treated more harshly with severe punishments like whipping


- The recognition of unemployment as a genuine problem and not laziness. Providing the poor became law and helped them keep some independence and dignity, enabling them to stay at home

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Exploration and voyages of discovery

What led Elizabethans to explore?

Expanding trade

- English merchants needed to look for more new trading opportunities, as conflict with Spain and in the Netherlands had hit the traditional wool and cloth trade hard

The Triangular Trade

- English merchants first began to exploit the African slave trade and it developed into a massive, trans-atlantic scale


- Young Elizabethan men went on voyages in hope of adventure and making fortunes

Navigation and Maps

- Was becoming more precise with quadrants and astrolabe to make more accurate calculations. Improved navigation and records of voyages contributed to more accurate maps.

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Drake's circumnavigation of the globe


- His main purpose was to raid Spanish colonies in the Pacific. Also wanted revenge against Spain


- It was a great boost to English morale and established the reputation of English ships and sailors as being among the finest in the world. Important cuz Spain could invade England at any time

Encouraging exploration

- They gathered a great deal of useful information about the Americas. 

Nova Albion/ Encouraging colonies in America

- Drake named modern day San Francisco it, after performing a ceremony

Anglo-Spanish damaged relations

- It angered Philip II, especially after liz knighted Drake on the Golden Hind

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Raleigh and Virginia


  • He investigated, organised and raised funds for the establishment of an English colon in Virginia
  • Promoted the voyage and persuaded people to leave England and settle in Virginia
  • Appointed the governor of Virginia, who ruled in his place
  • Developed a 'blueprint' that was to be used for later English colonisations

Attempted colonisation of Virginia

  • Liz granted a patent to Raleigh to colonise Virginia in 1584
  • The first settlement of Virg in 1585, left over 100 men to colonise the land
  • Drake visited the colony on Roanoke Island in 1586 and the starving colonists returned to England withth him. There was a second attempt in 1587

Reasons for failure of Virginia

  • Colonists weren't able to produce enough food and the Secotans became hostile
  • The second group of colonists arrived too late to plant crops
  • Relations with local was poor and the harbour was poor
  • The leader of the settlers returned to England and arrived back at the colony to find noone in 1590
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