The Elizabethan age was a great era within England’s long history. It spanned from 1558 to 1603. The name comes from the fact that England was under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. The age was called the golden age in English history as peace and prosperity were experienced during this era as well as the art flourished.
How was Elizabethan Age in England?
Unlike the many eras where there were many battles and struggles for power across Europe, this era was relatively peaceful. Just prior to the Elizabethan age there were many battles between the Catholic Church and the Protestants.
During this time in history, they were civil with one another and this made everything go much smoother with more focus on other areas for the nation as a whole. To top it off, the battles between the monarchy and parliament had also ceased. England during this time was a great place to live.
The Spanish Armada in Elizabethan Age
The Spanish Armada in 1588 of August entered into the English territories with an intention to conquest England by Catholic King Philip II of Spain. If they succeeded in their mission, it meant the defeat of Protestantism and Queen Elizabeth. Hence the English people were fighting against them with full force for their lives and freedom.
The result was the defeat of the so-called Invincible Spanish Armada. Some of the great noblemen and seamen who contributed a lot and played major roles in this era are Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Admiral Hawkins, and Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Because of them and some other brave men, the Golden Age of the Elizabethan Era endured.
The Elizabethan era was also the age of exploration as in this period there began the rise of the English Navy after the defeat of Spanish Armada. It saw many advancements in the field of navigation. Those were highlighted when circumnavigation of the globe was completed successfully by Sir Francis Drake.
Theatres in Elizabethan Age
The drama of the Elizabethan age was a dominant form of art that prospered during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The Elizabethan theatre provides a timeline to the history, facts, and information about the development and emergence of the Inn-yards, playhouses, and amphitheaters.
The name William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Theatre are bound to be taken together. However, there were other popular playwrights like Christopher Marlowe whose contemporary writings were more superior than even Shakespeare.
Initially, the plays were performed at the courtyards of Inns or in the noblemen houses , until the first theatre known as ” The Theatre” was built in 1576 at Shoreditch. Later many playhouses also emerged in London that consisted of Rose and the Hope. However, the most popular playhouse was The Globe Theatre built in 1599 by the Company of Shakespeare.
The theatre was used until 1613 and then it was closed as a cannon that was fired during one of the performances of King Henry VII got its hold on the roof and the building was burned to the ground.
Invention and Technology in the Elizabethan Age
The Elizabethan period was the time when people blamed on the witches, ghosts, and witchcraft for any unexplainable events. In most cases, women were accused of being witches.
Then emerged the new ideas and thinking with the introduction of press printing, that became the greatest tool to increase ones learning and knowledge. New thinking and ideas, Information and knowledge about technology, astrology, and science led to the new interest in the supernatural powers that also included witches and ghosts.
One of the astrologer and astronomer called John Dee devoted his life to the study of alchemy, hermetic philosophy, and divination which opened the ends of magic and modern science to all others.
A telescope, Frozen chicken, Pocket watch, Thermometer, Bottle beer, and Flush toilet were some of the major innovations that revolutionized during the Elizabethan Age.
Food in the Elizabethan Age
The food and drink varied according to the status, class and wealth of the people. Poor people had humble and unbalanced diet while wealthy people ate well. Fruit, vegetables and all type of meat were eaten usually by rich people. The diet of poor people included bread along with cheese, butter, pottage, and eggs.
However lower class people also ate a lot of vegetables, so one can say that although poor people could not afford meat, they ate a healthier diet than those of rich people.
Water was considered unsafe to drink, hence most of them consumed ale and alcohol of various types.
Fashion and Clothing in the Elizabethan Age
Fashion was a major issue for the noble and rich people in this era. However, all were bounded by the Sumptuary laws which stated what should be worn by whom. For instance, Trimmed clothes with ermine fur were only allowed for the Royal people. The nobles were permitted to wear fancy clothes made from expensive materials like silk and velvet. Also, the usage of bright colors was permitted to them.
Writers in Elizabethan Age
The English Renaissance was at its greatest height during the Elizabethan age. In fact, the most popular writers in history, including Shakespeare made many of his works during the Elizabethan age. Other poets and artists alike produced many great works that we still appreciate today.
Literature in the Elizabethan era was the most magnificent age in the English history literature during which many writers like Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, Richard Hooper, Roger Ascham, Christopher Marlowe also flourished. Poetry, other than writing also emerged as the new form of art during this era
Many schools across the world still read and view the artists work and understand it as being a bright time in history for most of the world, but particularly England.
Prosperity in the Elizabethan Age
Another bright spot to the Elizabethan age was the prosperity that came to England during this time. Many of the reformations that were made by previous monarchs had produced a lot of trading going on across the Atlantic Ocean. For this, the country of England was very prosperous.
It was so prosperous that many refer to the Elizabethan age as the Utopian age. Utopia was a fictional place that was stated to be very wealthy and was a sign of perfection among the people as well.
Unfortunately, the Elizabethan age also ran into some problems at the end of the era. While the country was prosperous for many years, Spain persisted to start a war with England between 1585 and 1604. The war is referred to today as the Anglo-Spanish War. The war itself had drained England’s economy. England did not rebound until after Queen Elizabeth I had deceased.
Interesting Facts about the Elizabethan Age
- Queen Elizabeth was an avid follower of Protestantism. She remained in constant fear of being assassinated by Catholics whose intentions were to replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.
- The First Stock Exchange known as the Royal Exchange was established in the Elizabethan era by Thomas Gresham in the year 1565.
- Queen Elizabeth was also known as the Virgin Queen as she was never married. She considers herself to be married to her country. She was also the last Tudor as she did not have any children nor she left any heir.
- With the invention of coaches, it became the most popular and convenient mode of transportation for the noble and wealthy aristocrats in Elizabethan England.