Elizabeth's Last year

  • Created by: cieran32
  • Created on: 10-11-18 01:02

The Last Years of Elizabeth's Rule

Although Elizabeth I is remembered as one of our greatest monarchs, England endured hard times during the last decade of her reign

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foreign Policy

  • England was at war with Spain. Spain was bankrupt and England was under severe financial strain.
  • England’s allies were: Scotland, France, the Northern Dutch provinces.
  • England’s enemy was Spain.
  • England had begun making some headway in the New World, although all attempts to found colonies had failed.
  • New trading links had been made with Russia and India.
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  • Elizabeth was an ageing monarch who was unable to fully manage the new factions at court.
  • Robert Cecil took over from William Cecil as Elizabeth’s Principal Secretary.
  • The Privy Council met every day by the 1590s. It could govern without needing a parliament.
  • Parliament had stood up to Elizabeth over the issue of monopolies in 1601. Her reply, the Golden Speech, was a rare apology.
  • The workload of JPs and importance of gentry continued to grow
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  • The Church of England was firmly established. England’s religion was Protestant.
  • Catholicism was less popular in the last decades of Elizabeth’s reign because it became associated with Spain and treason.
  • Puritanism had also been associated with treason and its growth checked.
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The Economy

  • Employers, landowners, the professions and merchants became richer.
  • Cottage industry was doing well.
  • Some older towns were doing worse but new urban centres were developing.
  • Trade opportunities were increasing. Links with Russia and India were building.
  • Wage labourers’ real wages fell. This benefitted employers.
  • Enclosure was seen as an evil thing, but was limited in reality
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  • The social hierarchy remained very much intact. The bulk of the people were poor, illiterate and were adversely affected by inflation.
  • The gentry grew as a class. Professionals and employers did well in towns.
  • Vagrancy had continued to grow and new systems of poor relief established.
  • The rural poor migrated to the towns.
  • There was a great hardship in the town and countryside because of the bad harvests and outbreaks of plague in the 1590s
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  • Theatres and music were thriving and available to people of all classes.
  • The England Reformation had a positive impact on theatre, music and literature.
  • Literature and education were thriving, but only for the middle and upper classes. Girls’ education was still based around the home even in the middle classes
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The Succession Crisis in Elizabeth's Last Years

The Succession Crisis plagued Elizabeth I's reign. She only named her successor on her deathbed, much to the anxiety of her closest advisors

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  • Elizabeth I only named James as her successor on her deathbed in 1603.
  • He was coronated on 25 July 1603 as King James I of England.
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  • James VI of Scotland was the son of Mary Queen of Scots.
  • His claim to the English throne came through his great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII's sister).
  • After it became apparent Elizabeth I would not marry or have children, James was the most likely claimant for the English throne.
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