Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Early Modern Period

16th - 18th century


 


The smooth transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age is conventionally fixed on such events as the Reformation and the discovery of the "New World," which brought about the emergence of a new image of man and his world. Humanism, which spread out of Italy, also made an essential contribution to this with its promotion of a critical awareness of Christianity and the Church. The Reformation eventually broke the all-embracing power of the Church. After the Thirty Years' War, the concept of a universal empire was also nullified. The era of the nation-state began, bringing with it the desire to build up political and economic power far beyond Europe. The Americas, Africa, and Asia provided regions of expansion for the Europeans.
 



Proportions of the Human Figure by Leonardo da Vinci (drawing, ca. 1490)
is a prime example of the new approach of Renaissance
artists and scientists to the anatomy of the human body.

 

 


The Rise of England
 


1485-CA.1800
 

 


Tudor monarchs of England

1. Henry VII Descent from Edward III of England. January 28, 1457 - April 21, 1509 (crowned October 30, 1485)
2. Henry VIII Son of Henry VII June 28, 1491 - January 28, 1547 (crowned June 24, 1509)
3. Edward VI Son of Henry VIII by Jane Seymour October 12, 1537 - July 6, 1553 (crowned February 20, 1547)
4. Jane Great granddaughter of Henry VII Duchess of Suffolk 1537 - February 12, 1554 executed  (never crowned)
5. Mary I Daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon February 18, 1516 - November 18, 1558 (crowned October 1, 1553)
6. Elizabeth I Daughter of Henry VIII by Anne Boleyn September 7, 1533 - March 24, 1603 (crowned January 15, 1559)
 

 



see also:

William Shakespeare

BACON  FRANCIS "New Atlantis"

William Byrd

Theodore De Bry "Indians of North America"

 


The Reign of the Tudors to Elizabeth I. Elizabethan Age
 

Anglicanism strengthened its position during the reigns of Henry VIII's children, with but one interruption for a short phase of Catholic revanchism. Elizabeth I's naval policies simultaneously made England a great European power.

 

Henry VIII was followed in 1547 by his young son Edward VI, whose regency was contested by the dukes of Somerset and Northumberland. During his reign, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, formulated the creed and in 1553 the 42 articles of faith of the Anglicans as well as the renowned Book of Common Prayer.

Edward was followed to the throne in 1553 by his elder sister 7 Mary, the Catholic daughter of Henry's first wife Catherine of Aragon.


7 The Catholic Queen Mary Tudor by Anthonis Mor, 1554


 Mary I of England, 1554

In 1554, she restored papal jurisdiction in England and married her cousin Philip II of Spain. Her brutal persecution of Protestants—among them Archbishop Cranmer, who was burned at the stake in 1556—earned her the nickname "Bloody Mary."

In 1558, Mary's Protestant half-sister 9 Elizabeth I, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, came to power.

Though declared illegitimate, she had been magnificently educated in the "new learning" of the Renaissance. At first she acted cautiously in religious affairs, but then in 1564, with the "Thirty-Nine Articles" she finally secured the position of the Anglican state church. After the elimination of Mary Stuart's claims to the throne. Elizabeth supported the Protestant Netherlands in their struggle for liberation, which led to war with Spain.

The English fleet annihilated the numerically far superior Spanish 11 Armada in 1588, which dramatically marked the end of Spanish supremacy at sea and the rise of English sea power.


9 Elizabeth I with the Armada in the background, painting, 1588


11 Confrontation of the English Navy (left)
with the Spanish Armada (right),
copper engraving, 18th century

Afterward, Elizabeth had Spanish ships captured in an unofficial war by privateers like 8 Francis Drake.


8 Portrait of Sir Francis Drake in Buckland Abbey, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.
8 Sir Walter Raleigh


It was increasingly clear that England was becoming a leading European power.

Domestically, the unmarried queen understood how to deftly play her favorites and aides against each other and assert the monarchy's authority.

The Elizabethan Age produced a tremendous upswing in trade, as well as significant cultural achievements, of which the works of Christopher Marlowe and 10 WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE  are a shining example.



10 WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE; London Globe Theatre reconstructed to look as it did in Shakespeare's time


In 1584, Elizabeth gave 8 Sir Walter Raleigh permission to set up the first English colony in North America. It was named Virginia after the "virgin queen." In 1600, the East India Company— an important factor in trade and colonial policies—was chartered.

 

 

 

Mary I of England



Princess Mary in 1544

queen of England
also called Mary Tudor, byname Bloody Mary

born February 18, 1516, Greenwich, near London
died November 17, 1558, London

Main
the first queen to rule England (1553–58) in her own right. She was known as Bloody Mary for her persecution of Protestants in a vain attempt to restore Roman Catholicism in England.


Mary I c. 1555, unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery, London

Early life
The daughter of King Henry VIII and the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon, Mary as a child was a pawn in England’s bitter rivalry with more powerful nations, being fruitlessly proposed in marriage to this or that potentate desired as an ally. A studious and bright girl, she was educated by her mother and a governess of ducal rank.

Betrothed at last to the Holy Roman emperor, her cousin Charles V (Charles I of Spain), Mary was commanded by him to come to Spain with a huge cash dowry. This demand ignored, he presently jilted her and concluded a more advantageous match. In 1525 she was named princess of Wales by her father, although the lack of official documents suggests she was never formally invested. She then held court at Ludlow Castle while new betrothal plans were made. Mary’s life was radically disrupted, however, by her father’s new marriage to Anne Boleyn.

As early as the 1520s Henry had planned to divorce Catherine in order to marry Anne Boleyn, claiming that, since Catherine had been his deceased brother’s wife, her union with Henry was incestuous. The pope, however, refused to recognize Henry’s right to divorce Catherine, even after the divorce was legalized in England. In 1534 Henry broke with Rome and established the Church of England. The allegation of incest, in effect, made Mary a bastard. Anne Boleyn, the new queen, bore the king a daughter, Elizabeth (the future queen), forbade Mary access to her parents, stripped her of her title of princess, and forced her to act as lady-in-waiting to the infant Elizabeth. Mary never saw her mother again, though, despite great danger, they corresponded secretly.

Anne’s hatred pursued Mary so relentlessly that she feared execution, but, having her mother’s courage and all her father’s stubbornness, she would not admit to the illegitimacy of her birth. Nor would she enter a convent when ordered to do so.

After Anne fell under Henry’s displeasure, he offered to pardon Mary if she would acknowledge him as head of the Church of England and admit the “incestuous illegality” of his marriage to her mother. She refused to do so until her cousin, the emperor Charles, persuaded her to give in, an action she was to regret deeply.

Henry was now reconciled to her and gave her a household befitting her position and again made plans for her betrothal. She became godmother to Prince Edward, his son by Jane Seymour, the third queen.

Mary was now the most important European princess. Although plain, she was a popular figure, with a fine contralto singing voice and great linguistic ability. She was, however, not able to free herself of the epithet of bastard, and her movements were severely restricted. Husband after husband proposed for her failed to reach the altar. When Henry married Catherine Howard, however, Mary was granted permission to return to court, and in 1544, although still considered illegitimate, she was granted succession to the throne after Edward and any other legitimate children who might be born to Henry.

Edward VI succeeded his father in 1547 and, swayed by religious fervour and overzealous advisers, made English rather than Latin compulsory for church services. Mary, however, continued to celebrate mass in the old form in her private chapel and was once again in danger of losing her head.



Queen Mary, by Hans Eworth


Mary as queen
Upon the death of Edward in 1553, she fled to Norfolk, as Lady Jane Grey had seized the throne and was recognized as queen for a few days. The country, however, considered Mary the rightful ruler, and within some days she made a triumphal entry into London. A woman of 37 now, she was forceful, sincere, bluff, and hearty like her father but, in contrast to him, disliked cruel punishments and the signing of death warrants.

Insensible to the need of caution for a newly crowned queen, unable to adapt herself to novel circumstances, and lacking self-interest, Mary longed to bring her people back to the church of Rome. To achieve this end, she was determined to marry Philip II of Spain, the son of the emperor Charles V and 11 years her junior, though most of her advisers advocated her cousin Courtenay, earl of Devon, a man of royal blood.

Those English noblemen who had acquired wealth and lands when Henry VIII confiscated the Catholic monasteries had a vested interest in retaining them, and Mary’s desire to restore Roman Catholicism as the state religion made them her enemies. Parliament, also at odds with her, was offended by her discourtesy to their delegates pleading against the Spanish marriage: “My marriage is my own affair,” she retorted.

When in 1554 it became clear that she would marry Philip, a Protestant insurrection broke out under the leadership of Sir Thomas Wyatt. Alarmed by Wyatt’s rapid advance toward London, Mary made a magnificent speech rousing citizens by the thousands to fight for her. Wyatt was defeated and executed, and Mary married Philip, restored the Catholic creed, and revived the laws against heresy. For three years rebel bodies dangled from gibbets, and heretics were relentlessly executed, some 300 being burned at the stake. Thenceforward the queen, now known as Bloody Mary, was hated, her Spanish husband distrusted and slandered, and she herself blamed for the vicious slaughter. An unpopular, unsuccessful war with France, in which Spain was England’s ally, lost Calais, England’s last toehold in Europe. Still childless, sick, and grief stricken, she was further depressed by a series of false pregnancies. She died on November 17, 1558, in London, and with her died all that she did.

Eric Norman Simons


Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 

 

Elizabeth I of England



"The Ermine Portrait" of Elizabeth I of England.
Attributed to William Segar


queen of England
byname The Virgin Queen, or Good Queen Bess

born Sept. 7, 1533, Greenwich, near London, Eng.
died March 24, 1603, Richmond, Surrey

Main
queen of England (1558–1603) during a period, often called the Elizabethan Age, when England asserted itself vigorously as a major European power in politics, commerce, and the arts.

Although her small kingdom was threatened by grave internal divisions, Elizabeth’s blend of shrewdness, courage, and majestic self-display inspired ardent expressions of loyalty and helped unify the nation against foreign enemies. The adulation bestowed upon her both in her lifetime and in the ensuing centuries was not altogether a spontaneous effusion; it was the result of a carefully crafted, brilliantly executed campaign in which the queen fashioned herself as the glittering symbol of the nation’s destiny. This political symbolism, common to monarchies, had more substance than usual, for the queen was by no means a mere figurehead. While she did not wield the absolute power of which Renaissance rulers dreamed, she tenaciously upheld her authority to make critical decisions and to set the central policies of both state and church. The latter half of the 16th century in England is justly called the Elizabethan Age: rarely has the collective life of a whole era been given so distinctively personal a stamp.



Elizabeth I of England by Levina Teerlinc
 

Childhood
Elizabeth’s early years were not auspicious. She was born at Greenwich Palace, the daughter of the Tudor king Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry had defied the pope and broken England from the authority of the Roman Catholic church in order to dissolve his marriage with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had borne him a daughter, Mary. Since the king ardently hoped that Anne Boleyn would give birth to the male heir regarded as the key to stable dynastic succession, the birth of a second daughter was a bitter disappointment that dangerously weakened the new queen’s position. Before Elizabeth reached her third birthday, her father had her mother beheaded on charges of adultery and treason. Moreover, at Henry’s instigation, an act of Parliament declared his marriage with Anne Boleyn invalid from the beginning, thus making their daughter Elizabeth illegitimate, as Roman Catholics had all along claimed her to be. (Apparently the king was undeterred by the logical inconsistency of simultaneously invalidating the marriage and accusing his wife of adultery.) The emotional impact of these events on the little girl, who had been brought up from infancy in a separate household at Hatfield, is not known; presumably no one thought it worth recording. What was noted was her precocious seriousness; at six years old, it was admiringly observed, she had as much gravity as if she had been 40.

When in 1537 Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour, gave birth to a son, Edward, Elizabeth receded still further into relative obscurity, but she was not neglected. Despite his capacity for monstrous cruelty, Henry VIII treated all his children with what contemporaries regarded as affection; Elizabeth was present at ceremonial occasions and was declared third in line to the throne. She spent much of the time with her half brother Edward and, from her 10th year onward, profited from the loving attention of her stepmother, Catherine Parr, the king’s sixth and last wife. Under a series of distinguished tutors, of whom the best known is the Cambridge humanist Roger Ascham, Elizabeth received the rigorous education normally reserved for male heirs, consisting of a course of studies centring on classical languages, history, rhetoric, and moral philosophy. “Her mind has no womanly weakness,” Ascham wrote with the unselfconscious sexism of the age, “her perseverance is equal to that of a man, and her memory long keeps what it quickly picks up.” In addition to Greek and Latin, she became fluent in French and Italian, attainments of which she was proud and which were in later years to serve her well in the conduct of diplomacy. Thus steeped in the secular learning of the Renaissance, the quick-witted and intellectually serious princess also studied theology, imbibing the tenets of English Protestantism in its formative period. Her association with the Reformation is critically important, for it shaped the future course of the nation, but it does not appear to have been a personal passion: observers noted the young princess’s fascination more with languages than with religious dogma.
 


Queen Elizabeth I of England in her coronation robes,
patterned with Tudor roses and trimmed with ermine



Position under Edward VI and Mary
With her father’s death in 1547 and the accession to the throne of her frail 10-year-old brother Edward, Elizabeth’s life took a perilous turn. Her guardian, the dowager queen Catherine Parr, almost immediately married Thomas Seymour, the lord high admiral. Handsome, ambitious, and discontented, Seymour began to scheme against his powerful older brother, Edward Seymour, protector of the realm during Edward VI’s minority. In January 1549, shortly after the death of Catherine Parr, Thomas Seymour was arrested for treason and accused of plotting to marry Elizabeth in order to rule the kingdom. Repeated interrogations of Elizabeth and her servants led to the charge that even when his wife was alive Seymour had on several occasions behaved in a flirtatious and overly familiar manner toward the young princess. Under humiliating close questioning and in some danger, Elizabeth was extraordinarily circumspect and poised. When she was told that Seymour had been beheaded, she betrayed no emotion.

The need for circumspection, self-control, and political acumen became even greater after the death of the Protestant Edward in 1553 and the accession of Elizabeth’s older half sister Mary, a religious zealot set on returning England, by force if necessary, to the Roman Catholic faith. This attempt, along with her unpopular marriage to the ardently Catholic king Philip II of Spain, aroused bitter Protestant opposition. In a charged atmosphere of treasonous rebellion and inquisitorial repression, Elizabeth’s life was in grave danger. For though, as her sister demanded, she conformed outwardly to official Catholic observance, she inevitably became the focus and the obvious beneficiary of plots to overthrow the government and restore Protestantism. Arrested and sent to the Tower of London after Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion in January 1554, Elizabeth narrowly escaped her mother’s fate. Two months later, after extensive interrogation and spying had revealed no conclusive evidence of treason on her part, she was released from the Tower and placed in close custody for a year at Woodstock. The difficulty of her situation eased somewhat, though she was never far from suspicious scrutiny. Throughout the unhappy years of Mary’s childless reign, with its burning of Protestants and its military disasters, Elizabeth had continually to protest her innocence, affirm her unwavering loyalty, and proclaim her pious abhorrence of heresy. It was a sustained lesson in survival through self-discipline and the tactful manipulation of appearances.

Many Protestants and Roman Catholics alike assumed that her self-presentation was deceptive, but Elizabeth managed to keep her inward convictions to herself, and in religion as in much else they have remained something of a mystery. There is with Elizabeth a continual gap between a dazzling surface and an interior that she kept carefully concealed. Observers were repeatedly tantalized with what they thought was a glimpse of the interior, only to find that they had been shown another facet of the surface. Everything in Elizabeth’s early life taught her to pay careful attention to how she represented herself and how she was represented by others. She learned her lesson well.


The "Hampden" portrait of Elizabeth I of England


Accession
At the death of Mary on Nov. 17, 1558, Elizabeth came to the throne amid bells, bonfires, patriotic demonstrations, and other signs of public jubilation. Her entry into London and the great coronation procession that followed were masterpieces of political courtship. “If ever any person,” wrote one enthusiastic observer, “had either the gift or the style to win the hearts of people, it was this Queen, and if ever she did express the same it was at that present, in coupling mildness with majesty as she did, and in stately stooping to the meanest sort.” Elizabeth’s smallest gestures were scrutinized for signs of the policies and tone of the new regime: When an old man in the crowd turned his back on the new queen and wept, Elizabeth exclaimed confidently that he did so out of gladness; when a girl in an allegorical pageant presented her with a Bible in English translation—banned under Mary’s reign—Elizabeth kissed the book, held it up reverently, and then laid it on her breast; and when the abbot and monks of Westminster Abbey came to greet her in broad daylight with candles in their hands, she briskly dismissed them with the words “Away with those torches! we can see well enough.” Spectators were thus assured that under Elizabeth England had returned, cautiously but decisively, to the Reformation.

The first weeks of her reign were not entirely given over to symbolic gestures and public ceremonial. The queen began at once to form her government and issue proclamations. She reduced the size of the Privy Council, in part to purge some of its Catholic members and in part to make it more efficient as an advisory body; she began a restructuring of the enormous royal household; she carefully balanced the need for substantial administrative and judicial continuity with the desire for change; and she assembled a core of experienced and trustworthy advisers, including William Cecil, Nicholas Bacon, Francis Walsingham, and Nicholas Throckmorton. Chief among these was Cecil (afterward Lord Burghley), whom Elizabeth appointed her principal secretary of state on the morning of her accession and who was to serve her (first in this capacity and after 1571 as lord treasurer) with remarkable sagacity and skill for 40 years.



Elizabeth I , "Darnley Portrait", c. 1575



The woman ruler in a patriarchal world
In the last year of Mary’s reign, the Scottish Calvinist preacher John Knox wrote in his The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women that “God hath revealed to some in this our age that it is more than a monster in nature that a woman should reign and bear empire above man.” With the accession of the Protestant Elizabeth, Knox’s trumpet was quickly muted, but there remained a widespread conviction, reinforced by both custom and teaching, that, while men were naturally endowed with authority, women were temperamentally, intellectually, and morally unfit to govern. Men saw themselves as rational beings; they saw women as creatures likely to be dominated by impulse and passion. Gentlemen were trained in eloquence and the arts of war; gentlewomen were urged to keep silent and attend to their needlework. In men of the upper classes a will to dominate was admired or at least assumed; in women it was viewed as dangerous or grotesque.

Apologists for the queen countered that there had always been significant exceptions, such as the biblical Deborah, the prophetess who had judged Israel. Crown lawyers, moreover, elaborated a mystical legal theory known as “the king’s two bodies.” When she ascended the throne, according to this theory, the queen’s whole being was profoundly altered: her mortal “body natural” was wedded to an immortal “body politic.” “I am but one body, naturally considered,” Elizabeth declared in her accession speech, “though by [God’s] permission a Body Politic to govern.” Her body of flesh was subject to the imperfections of all human beings (including those specific to womankind), but the body politic was timeless and perfect. Hence in theory the queen’s gender was no threat to the stability and glory of the nation.

Elizabeth made it immediately clear that she intended to rule in more than name only and that she would not subordinate her judgment to that of any one individual or faction. Since her sister’s reign did not provide a satisfactory model for female authority, Elizabeth had to improvise a new model, one that would overcome the considerable cultural liability of her sex. Moreover, quite apart from this liability, any English ruler’s power to compel obedience had its limits. The monarch was at the pinnacle of the state, but that state was relatively impoverished and weak, without a standing army, an efficient police force, or a highly developed, effective bureaucracy. To obtain sufficient revenue to govern, the crown had to request subsidies and taxes from a potentially fractious and recalcitrant Parliament. Under these difficult circumstances, Elizabeth developed a strategy of rule that blended imperious command with an extravagant, histrionic cult of love.

The cult of Elizabeth as the Virgin Queen wedded to her kingdom was a gradual creation that unfolded over many years, but its roots may be glimpsed at least as early as 1555. At that time, according to a report that reached the French court, Queen Mary had proposed to marry her sister to the staunchly Catholic duke of Savoy; the usually cautious and impassive Elizabeth burst into tears, declaring that she had no wish for any husband. Other matches were proposed and summarily rejected. But in this vulnerable period of her life there were obvious reasons for Elizabeth to bide her time and keep her options open. No one—not even the princess herself—need have taken very seriously her professed desire to remain single. When she became queen, speculation about a suitable match immediately intensified, and the available options became a matter of grave national concern. Beyond the general conviction that the proper role for a woman was that of a wife, the dynastic and diplomatic stakes in the projected royal marriage were extremely high. If Elizabeth died childless, the Tudor line would come to an end. The nearest heir was Mary, Queen of Scots, the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Margaret. Mary, a Catholic whose claim was supported by France and other powerful Catholic states, was regarded by Protestants as a nightmarish threat that could best be averted if Elizabeth produced a Protestant heir.

The queen’s marriage was critical not only for the question of succession but also for the tangled web of international diplomacy. England, isolated and militarily weak, was sorely in need of the major alliances that an advantageous marriage could forge. Important suitors eagerly came forward: Philip II of Spain, who hoped to renew the link between Catholic Spain and England; Archduke Charles of Austria; Erik XIV, king of Sweden; Henry, Duke d’Anjou and later king of France; François, Duke d’ Alençon; and others. Many scholars think it unlikely that Elizabeth ever seriously intended to marry any of these aspirants to her hand, for the dangers always outweighed the possible benefits, but she skillfully played one off against another and kept the marriage negotiations going for months, even years, at one moment seeming on the brink of acceptance, at the next veering away toward vows of perpetual virginity. “She is a Princess,” the French ambassador remarked, “who can act any part she pleases.”

Elizabeth was courted by English suitors as well, most assiduously by her principal favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. As master of the horse and a member of the Privy Council, Leicester was constantly in attendance on the queen, who displayed toward him all the signs of an ardent romantic attachment. When in September 1560 Leicester’s wife, Amy Robsart, died in a suspicious fall, the favourite seemed poised to marry his royal mistress—so at least widespread rumours had it—but, though the queen’s behaviour toward him continued to generate scandalous gossip, the decisive step was never taken. Elizabeth’s resistance to a marriage she herself seemed to desire may have been politically motivated, for Leicester had many enemies at court and an unsavory reputation in the country at large. But in October 1562 the queen nearly died of smallpox, and, faced with the real possibility of a contested succession and a civil war, even rival factions were likely to have countenanced the marriage.

Probably at the core of Elizabeth’s decision to remain single was an unwillingness to compromise her power. Sir Robert Naunton recorded that the queen once said angrily to Leicester, when he tried to insist upon a favour, “I will have here but one mistress and no master.” To her ministers she was steadfastly loyal, encouraging their frank counsel and weighing their advice, but she did not cede ultimate authority even to the most trusted. Though she patiently received petitions and listened to anxious advice, she zealously retained her power to make the final decision in all crucial affairs of state. Unsolicited advice could at times be dangerous: when in 1579 a pamphlet was published vehemently denouncing the queen’s proposed marriage to the Catholic Duke d’Alençon, its author John Stubbs and his publisher William Page were arrested and had their right hands chopped off.

Elizabeth’s performances—her displays of infatuation, her apparent inclination to marry the suitor of the moment—often convinced even close advisers, so that the level of intrigue and anxiety, always high in royal courts, often rose to a feverish pitch. Far from trying to allay the anxiety, the queen seemed to augment and use it, for she was skilled at manipulating factions. This skill extended beyond marriage negotiations and became one of the hallmarks of her regime. A powerful nobleman would be led to believe that he possessed unique influence over the queen, only to discover that a hated rival had been led to a comparable belief. A golden shower of royal favour—apparent intimacies, public honours, the bestowal of such valuable perquisites as land grants and monopolies—would give way to royal aloofness or, still worse, to royal anger. The queen’s anger was particularly aroused by challenges to what she regarded as her prerogative (whose scope she cannily left undefined) and indeed by any unwelcome signs of independence. The courtly atmosphere of vivacity, wit, and romance would then suddenly chill, and the queen’s behaviour, as her godson Sir John Harington put it, “left no doubtings whose daughter she was.” This identification of Elizabeth with her father, and particularly with his capacity for wrath, is something that the queen herself—who never made mention of her mother—periodically invoked.

A similar blend of charm and imperiousness characterized the queen’s relations with Parliament, on which she had to depend for revenue. Many sessions of Parliament, particularly in the early years of her rule, were more than cooperative with the queen; they had the rhetorical air of celebrations. But under the strain of the marriage-and-succession question, the celebratory tone, which masked serious policy differences, began over the years to wear thin, and the sessions involved complicated, often acrimonious negotiations between crown and commons. More radical members of Parliament wanted to include in debate broad areas of public policy; the queen’s spokesmen struggled to restrict free discussion to government bills. Elizabeth had a rare gift for combining calculated displays of intransigence with equally calculated displays of graciousness and, on rare occasions, a prudent willingness to concede. Whenever possible, she transformed the language of politics into the language of love, likening herself to the spouse or the mother of her kingdom. Characteristic of this rhetorical strategy was her famous “Golden Speech” of 1601, when, in the face of bitter parliamentary opposition to royal monopolies, she promised reforms:

I do assure you, there is no prince that loveth his subjects better, or whose love can countervail our love. There is no jewel, be it of never so rich a price, which I set before this jewel; I mean, your love: for I do more esteem of it, than of any treasure or riches.

A discourse of rights or interests thus became a discourse of mutual gratitude, obligation, and love. “We all loved her,” Harington wrote with just a trace of irony, “for she said she loved us.” In her dealings with parliamentary delegations, as with suitors and courtiers, the queen contrived to turn her gender from a serious liability into a distinct advantage.



The Allegorical Portrait of Elizabeth I
with Old Father Time at her right




The queen’s image
Elizabeth’s parsimony did not extend to personal adornments. She possessed a vast repertory of fantastically elaborate dresses and rich jewels. Her passion for dress was bound up with political calculation and an acute self-consciousness about her image. She tried to control the royal portraits that circulated widely in England and abroad, and her appearances in public were dazzling displays of wealth and magnificence. Throughout her reign she moved restlessly from one of her palaces to another—Whitehall, Nonsuch, Greenwich, Windsor, Richmond, Hampton Court, and Oatlands—and availed herself of the hospitality of her wealthy subjects. On her journeys, known as royal progresses, she wooed her people and was received with lavish entertainments. Artists, including poets like Edmund Spenser and painters like Nicholas Hilliard, celebrated her in a variety of mythological guises—as Diana, the chaste goddess of the moon; Astraea, the goddess of justice; Gloriana, the queen of the fairies—and Elizabeth, in addition to adopting these fanciful roles, appropriated to herself some of the veneration that pious Englishmen had directed to the Virgin Mary.

“She imagined,” wrote Francis Bacon a few years after the queen’s death, “that the people, who are much influenced by externals, would be diverted by the glitter of her jewels, from noticing the decay of her personal attractions.” Bacon’s cynicism reflects the darkening tone of the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign, when her control over her country’s political, religious, and economic forces and over her representation of herself began to show severe strains. Bad harvests, persistent inflation, and unemployment caused hardship and a loss of public morale. Charges of corruption and greed led to widespread popular hatred of many of the queen’s favourites to whom she had given lucrative and much-resented monopolies. A series of disastrous military attempts to subjugate the Irish culminated in a crisis of authority with her last great favourite, Robert Devereux, the proud Earl of Essex, who had undertaken to defeat rebel forces led by Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone. Essex returned from Ireland against the queen’s orders, insulted her in her presence, and then made a desperate, foolhardy attempt to raise an insurrection. He was tried for treason and executed on Feb. 25, 1601.

Elizabeth continued to make brilliant speeches, to exercise her authority, and to receive the extravagant compliments of her admirers, but she was, as Sir Walter Raleigh remarked, “a lady surprised by time,” and her long reign was drawing to a close. She suffered from bouts of melancholy and ill health and showed signs of increasing debility. Her more astute advisers—among them Lord Burghley’s son, Sir Robert Cecil, who had succeeded his father as her principal counselor—secretly entered into correspondence with the likeliest claimant to the throne, James VI of Scotland. Having reportedly indicated James as her successor, Elizabeth died quietly. The nation enthusiastically welcomed its new king. But in a very few years the English began to express nostalgia for the rule of “Good Queen Bess.” Long before her death she had transformed herself into a powerful image of female authority, regal magnificence, and national pride, and that image has endured to the present.

Stephen J. Greenblatt

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

 

Elizabethan era
 


Christopher Marlowe
,
writer

William Shakespeare, writer

Bacon  Francis, philosopher

William Byrd, composer

Theodore De Bry, engraver

Francis Drake, navigator


see also:

William Shakespeare

BACON  FRANCIS "New Atlantis"

William Byrd

Theodore De Bry "Indians of North America"

 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Elizabethan era is associated with Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558–1603) and is often considered to be the golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of English poetry and literature. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished and William Shakespeare and many others, composed plays that broke free of England's past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became the national mindset of all the people. It was also the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the contrasts with the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth's reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England clashed both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth's prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth's death.

England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.


Romance and reality
The Victorian era and the early twentieth century idealised the Elizabethan era. The Encyclopædia Britannica still maintains that "The long reign of Elizabeth I, 1533-1603, was England's Golden Age...'Merry England,' in love with life, expressed itself in music and literature, in architecture, and in adventurous seafaring." This idealising tendency was shared by Britain and an Anglophilic America. (In popular culture, the image of those adventurous Elizabethan seafarers was embodied in the films of Errol Flynn.)

In response and reaction to this hyperbole, modern historians and biographers have tended to take a far more literal-minded and dispassionate view of the Tudor period. Elizabethan England was not particularly successful in a military sense during the period. The grinding poverty of the rural working class, which comprised 90 percent of the population, has also received more attention than in previous generations. The Elizabethan role in the slave trade and the repression of Catholic Ireland—notably the Desmond Rebellions and the Nine Years' War—have also drawn historians' attention. Despite the heights achieved during the era, the country descended into the English Civil War less than 40 years after the death of Elizabeth.

On balance, it can be said that Elizabeth provided the country with a long period of general if not total peace, and generally increasing prosperity. Having inherited a virtually bankrupt state from previous reigns, her frugal policies restored fiscal responsibility. Her fiscal restraint cleared the regime of debt by 1574, and ten years later the Crown enjoyed a surplus of £300,000. Economically, Sir Thomas Gresham's founding of the Royal Exchange (1565), the first stock exchange in England and one of the earliest in Europe, proved to be a development of the first importance, for the economic development of England and soon for the world as a whole. With taxes lower than other European countries of the period, the economy expanded; though the wealth was distributed with wild unevenness, there was clearly more wealth to go around at the end of Elizabeth's reign than at the beginning. This general peace and prosperity allowed the attractive developments that "Golden Age" advocates have stressed.

Both from an anachronistic modern perspective and from that of 19th century humanism, England in this era had some positive aspects that set it apart from contemporaneous continental European societies. Torture was rare, since the English legal system reserved torture only for capital crimes like treason—though forms of corporal punishment, some of them extreme, were practised. The persecution of witches was also comparatively rare; while some persecutions did occur, they did not reach the hysterical proportions that disfigured some European societies so severely in this period. The role of women in society was, for the historical era, relatively unconstrained; Spanish and Italian visitors to England commented regularly, and sometimes caustically, on the freedom that women enjoyed in England, in contrast to their home cultures.

Elizabeth's determination not to "look into the hearts" of her subjects, to moderate the religious persecutions of previous Tudor reigns—the persecution of Catholics under Henry VIII and Edward VI, and of Protestants under Mary—appears to have had a moderating effect on English society in general. While Elizabethan England has been characterised by one sceptic as a "brutal dictatorship," it was, as brutal dictatorships go, one of the more benign.

Science, technology, exploration
Lacking a dominant genius or a formal structure for research (the following century had both Sir Isaac Newton and the Royal Society), the Elizabethan era nonetheless saw significant scientific progress. The astronomers Thomas Digges and Thomas Harriot made important contributions; William Gilbert published his seminal study of magnetism, De Magnete, in 1600. Substantial advancements were made in the fields of cartography and surveying. The eccentric but influential John Dee also merits mention.

Much of this scientific and technological progress related to the practical skill of navigation. English achievements in exploration were noteworthy in the Elizabethan era. Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1581, and Martin Frobisher explored the Arctic. The first attempt at English settlement of the eastern seaboard of North America occurred in this era—the abortive colony at Roanoke Island in 1587.

While Elizabethan England is not thought of as an age of technological innovation, some progress did occur. In 1564 Guilliam Boonen came from the Netherlands to be Queen Elizabeth's first coach-builder —thus introducing the new European invention of the spring-suspension coach to England, as a replacement for the litters and carts of an earlier transportation mode. Coaches quickly became as fashionable as sports cars in a later century; social critics, especially Puritan commentators, noted the "diverse great ladies" who rode "up and down the countryside" in their new coaches.

 

Education
It was necessary for boys to attend grammar school, but girls were not allowed in any place of education. Only the most wealthy people allowed their daughters to be taught at home.

Composers
There were many composers such as William Byrd (1543-1623), Thomas Campion (1567-1520), and Robert Johnson (1500-1560).The composers did not only compose music for the court, but for the church too. The composers had two main styles, madrigal and ayre.

Fine arts
It has often been said that the Renaissance came late to England, in contrast to Italy and the other states of continental Europe; the fine arts in England during the Tudor and Stuart eras were dominated by foreign and imported talent—from Hans Holbein the Younger under Henry VIII to Anthony van Dyck under Charles I. Yet within this general trend, a native school of painting was developing. In Elizabeth's reign, Nicholas Hilliard, the Queen's "limner and goldsmith," is the most widely recognized figure in this native development; but George Gower has begun to attract greater notice and appreciation as knowledge of him and his art and career has improved.

 

 

 

Christopher Marlowe


Christopher («Kit») Marlowe

English writer

baptized Feb. 26, 1564, Canterbury, Kent, Eng.
died May 30, 1593, Deptford, near London

Main
Elizabethan poet and Shakespeare’s most important predecessor in English drama, who is noted especially for his establishment of dramatic blank verse.

Early years
Marlowe was the second child and eldest son of John Marlowe, a Canterbury shoemaker. Nothing is known of his first schooling, but on Jan. 14, 1579, he entered the King’s School, Canterbury, as a scholar. A year later he went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Obtaining his bachelor of arts degree in 1584, he continued in residence at Cambridge—which may imply that he was intending to take Anglican orders. In 1587, however, the university hesitated about granting him the master’s degree; its doubts (arising from his frequent absences from the university) were apparently set at rest when the Privy Council sent a letter declaring that he had been employed “on matters touching the benefit of his country”—apparently in Elizabeth I’s secret service.


Last years and literary career.
After 1587 Marlowe was in London, writing for the theatres, occasionally getting into trouble with the authorities because of his violent and disreputable behaviour, and probably also engaging himself from time to time in government service. Marlowe won a dangerous reputation for “atheism,” but this could, in Elizabeth I’s time, indicate merely unorthodox religious opinions. In Robert Greene’s deathbed tract, Greenes groats-worth of witte, Marlowe is referred to as a “famous gracer of Tragedians” and is reproved for having said, like Greene himself, “There is no god” and for having studied “pestilent Machiuilian pollicie.” There is further evidence of his unorthodoxy, notably in the denunciation of him written by the spy Richard Baines and in the letter of Thomas Kyd to the lord keeper in 1593 after Marlowe’s death. Kyd alleged that certain papers “denying the deity of Jesus Christ” that were found in his room belonged to Marlowe, who had shared the room two years before. Both Baines and Kyd suggested on Marlowe’s part atheism in the stricter sense and a persistent delight in blasphemy. Whatever the case may be, on May 18, 1593, the Privy Council issued an order for Marlowe’s arrest; two days later the poet was ordered to give daily attendance on their lordships “until he shall be licensed to the contrary.” On May 30, however, Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer, in the dubious company of Nicholas Skeres and Robert Poley, at a lodging house in Deptford, where they had spent most of the day and where, it was alleged, a fight broke out between them over the bill.

In a playwriting career that spanned little more than six years, Marlowe’s achievements were diverse and splendid. Perhaps before leaving Cambridge he had already written Tamburlaine the Great (in two parts, both performed by the end of 1587; published 1590). Almost certainly during his later Cambridge years, Marlowe had translated Ovid’s Amores (The Loves) and the first book of Lucan’s Pharsalia from the Latin. About this time he also wrote the play Dido, Queen of Carthage (published in 1594 as the joint work of Marlowe and Thomas Nashe). With the production of Tamburlaine he received recognition and acclaim, and playwriting became his major concern in the few years that lay ahead. Both parts of Tamburlaine were published anonymously in 1590, and the publisher omitted certain passages that he found incongruous with the play’s serious concern with history; even so, the extant Tamburlaine text can be regarded as substantially Marlowe’s. No other of his plays or poems or translations was published during his life. His unfinished but splendid poem Hero and Leander—which is almost certainly the finest nondramatic Elizabethan poem apart from those produced by Edmund Spenser—appeared in 1598.

There is argument among scholars concerning the order in which the plays subsequent to Tamburlaine were written. It is not uncommonly held that Faustus quickly followed Tamburlaine and that then Marlowe turned to a more neutral, more “social” kind of writing in Edward II and The Massacre at Paris. His last play may have been The Jew of Malta, in which he signally broke new ground. It is known that Tamburlaine, Faustus, and The Jew of Malta were performed by the Admiral’s Men, a company whose outstanding actor was Edward Alleyn, who most certainly played Tamburlaine, Faustus, and Barabas the Jew.
 


Title page of a late edition of Christopher Marlowe's
Doctor Faustus, with a woodcut illustration of a devil
coming up through a trapdoor.



Works.
In the earliest of Marlowe’s plays, the two-part Tamburlaine the Great (c. 1587; published 1590), Marlowe’s characteristic “mighty line” (as Ben Jonson called it) established blank verse as the staple medium for later Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatic writing. It appears that originally Marlowe intended to write only the first part, concluding with Tamburlaine’s marriage to Zenocrate and his making “truce with all the world.” But the popularity of the first part encouraged Marlowe to continue the story to Tamburlaine’s death. This gave him some difficulty, as he had almost exhausted his historical sources in part I; consequently the sequel has, at first glance, an appearance of padding. Yet the effort demanded in writing the continuation made the young playwright look more coldly and searchingly at the hero he had chosen, and thus part II makes explicit certain notions that were below the surface and insufficiently recognized by the dramatist in part I.

The play is based on the life and achievements of Timur (Timurlenk), the bloody 14th-century conqueror of Central Asia and India. Tamburlaine is a man avid for power and luxury and the possession of beauty: at the beginning of part I he is only an obscure Scythian shepherd, but he wins the crown of Persia by eloquence and bravery and a readiness to discard loyalty. He then conquers Bajazeth, emperor of Turkey, he puts the town of Damascus to the sword, and he conquers the sultan of Egypt; but, at the pleas of the sultan’s daughter Zenocrate, the captive whom he loves, he spares him and makes truce. In part II Tamburlaine’s conquests are further extended; whenever he fights a battle, he must win, even when his last illness is upon him. But Zenocrate dies, and their three sons provide a manifestly imperfect means for ensuring the preservation of his wide dominions; he kills Calyphas, one of these sons, when he refuses to follow his father into battle. Always, too, there are more battles to fight: when for a moment he has no immediate opponent on earth, he dreams of leading his army against the powers of heaven, though at other times he glories in seeing himself as “the scourge of God”; he burns the Qurʾān, for he will have no intermediary between God and himself, and there is a hint of doubt whether even God is to be granted recognition. Certainly Marlowe feels sympathy with his hero, giving him magnificent verse to speak, delighting in his dreams of power and of the possession of beauty, as seen in the following of Tamburlaine’s lines:

Nature, that fram’d us of four elements

Warring within our breasts for regiment,

Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:

Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend

The wondrous architecture of the world,

And measure every wandering planet’s course,

Still climbing after knowledge infinite,

And always moving as the restless spheres,

Wills us to wear ourselves and never rest,

Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,

That perfect bliss and sole felicity,

The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.

But, especially in part II, there are other strains: the hero can be absurd in his continual striving for more demonstrations of his power; his cruelty, which is extreme, becomes sickening; his human weakness is increasingly underlined, most notably in the onset of his fatal illness immediately after his arrogant burning of the Qurʾān. In this early play Marlowe already shows the ability to view a tragic hero from more than one angle, achieving a simultaneous vision of grandeur and impotence.

Marlowe’s most famous play is The Tragicall History of Dr. Faustus; but it has survived only in a corrupt form, and its date of composition has been much-disputed. It was first published in 1604, and another version appeared in 1616. Faustus takes over the dramatic framework of the morality plays in its presentation of a story of temptation, fall, and damnation and its free use of morality figures such as the good angel and the bad angel and the seven deadly sins, along with the devils Lucifer and Mephistopheles. In Faustus Marlowe tells the story of the doctor-turned-necromancer Faustus, who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. The devil’s intermediary in the play, Mephistopheles, achieves tragic grandeur in his own right as a fallen angel torn between satanic pride and dark despair. The play gives eloquent expression to this idea of damnation in the lament of Mephistopheles for a lost heaven and in Faustus’ final despairing entreaties to be saved by Christ before his soul is claimed by the devil:

The stars move still, time runs, the clock

will strike,

The devil will come, and Faustus must

be damn’d.

O, I’ll leap up to my God!—Who pulls

me down?—

See, see, where Christ’s blood streams in

the firmament!

One drop would save my soul, half a drop:

ah, my Christ!—

Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ!

Yet will I call on him: O, spare me, Lucifer!—

Where is it now? ’tis gone: and see, where God

Stretcheth out his arm, and bends his

ireful brows!

Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall

on me,

And hide me from the heavy wrath of God!

Just as in Tamburlaine Marlowe had seen the cruelty and absurdity of his hero as well as his magnificence, so here he can enter into Faustus’ grandiose intellectual ambition, simultaneously viewing those ambitions as futile, self-destructive, and absurd. The text is problematic in the low comic scenes spuriously introduced by later hack writers, but its more sober and consistent moments are certainly the uncorrupted work of Marlowe.

In The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta, Marlowe portrays another power-hungry figure in the Jew Barabas, who in the villainous society of Christian Malta shows no scruple in self-advancement. But this figure is more closely incorporated within his society than either Tamburlaine, the supreme conqueror, or Faustus, the lonely adventurer against God. In the end Barabas is overcome, not by a divine stroke but by the concerted action of his human enemies. There is a difficulty in deciding how fully the extant text of The Jew of Malta represents Marlowe’s original play, for it was not published until 1633. But The Jew can be closely associated with The Massacre at Paris (1593), a dramatic presentation of incidents from contemporary French history, including the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day, and with The Troublesome Raigne and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second (published 1594), Marlowe’s great contribution to the Elizabethan plays on historical themes.

As The Massacre introduces in the duke of Guise a figure unscrupulously avid for power, so in the younger Mortimer of Edward II Marlowe shows a man developing an appetite for power and increasingly corrupted as power comes to him. In each instance the dramatist shares in the excitement of the pursuit of glory, but all three plays present such figures within a social framework: the notion of social responsibility, the notion of corruption through power, and the notion of the suffering that the exercise of power entails are all prominently the dramatist’s concern. Apart from Tamburlaine and the minor work Dido, Queen of Carthage (of uncertain date, published 1594 and written in collaboration with Thomas Nashe), Edward II is the only one of Marlowe’s plays whose extant text can be relied on as adequately representing the author’s manuscript. And certainly Edward II is a major work, not merely one of the first Elizabethan plays on an English historical theme. The relationships linking the king, his neglected queen, the king’s favourite, Gaveston, and the ambitious Mortimer are studied with detached sympathy and remarkable understanding: no character here is lightly disposed of, and the abdication and the brutal murder of Edward show the same dark and violent imagination as appeared in Marlowe’s presentation of Faustus’ last hour. Though this play, along with The Jew and The Massacre, shows Marlowe’s fascinated response to the distorted Elizabethan idea of Machiavelli, it more importantly shows Marlowe’s deeply suggestive awareness of the nature of disaster, the power of society, and the dark extent of an individual’s suffering.

In addition to translations (Ovid’s Amores and the first book of Lucan’s Pharsalia), Marlowe’s nondramatic work includes the poem Hero and Leander. This work was incomplete at his death and was extended by George Chapman: the joint work of the two poets was published in 1598.

An authoritative edition of Marlowe’s works was edited by Fredson Bowers, The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe, 2nd ed., 2 vol. (1981).

Clifford Leech
Ed.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

 

Spanish Armada


Defeat of the Spanish Armada, 8 August 1588
 

also called Spanish Armada, or Invincible Armada, Spanish Armada Española, or Armada Invencible, Main
the great fleet sent by King Philip II of Spain in 1588 to invade England in conjunction with a Spanish army from Flanders (now in Belgium). England’s attempts to repel this fleet involved the first naval battles to be fought entirely with heavy guns, and the failure of Spain’s enterprise saved England and the Netherlands from possible absorption into the Spanish empire.

Philip had long been contemplating an attempt to restore the Roman Catholic faith in England, and English piracies against Spanish trade and possessions offered him further provocation. The Treaty of Nonsuch (1585) by which England undertook to support the Dutch rebels against Spanish rule, along with damaging raids by Sir Francis Drake against Spanish commerce in the Caribbean in 1585–86, finally convinced Philip that a direct invasion of England was necessary. He decided to use 30,000 troops belonging to the veteran army of the Spanish regent of the Netherlands, the Duke de Parma, as the main invasion force, and to send from Spain sufficient naval strength to defeat or deter the English fleet and clear the Strait of Dover for Parma’s army to cross from Flanders over to southeastern England.

After nearly two years’ preparation and prolonged delays, the Armada sailed from Lisbon in May 1588 (see map) under the command of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, a replacement for Spain’s most distinguished admiral, the Marquess de Santa Cruz, who had died in February. Medina-Sidonia was an experienced administrator who proved to be resolute and capable in action, but he had relatively little sea experience. The Spanish fleet consisted of about 130 ships with about 8,000 seamen and possibly as many as 19,000 soldiers. About 40 of these ships were line-of-battle ships, the rest being mostly transports and light craft. The Spaniards were conscious that even their best ships were slower than those of the English and less well armed with heavy guns, but they counted on being able to force boarding actions if the English offered battle, after which the superiority of the Spanish infantry would prove decisive.

The English fleet was under the command of Charles Howard, 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham; he was no more experienced an admiral than Medina-Sidonia but was a more effective leader. His second in command was Sir Francis Drake. The English fleet at one time or another included nearly 200 ships; but, during most of the subsequent fighting in the English Channel, it numbered less than 100 ships, and at its largest it was about the same size as the Spanish fleet. No more than 40 or so were warships of the first rank; but the English ships were unencumbered by transports, and even their smallest vessels were fast and well armed for their size. The English placed great reliance on artillery; their ships carried few soldiers but had many more and heavier guns than the Spanish ships. With these guns, mounted in faster and handier ships, they planned to stand off and bombard the Spanish ships at long range.

Gales forced the Armada back to the port of La Coruña (in northern Spain) for refitting, and it finally got under way again in July. The Armada was first sighted by the English off Lizard Point, in Cornwall, on July 29 (July 19, Old Style). The larger part of the English fleet was then at Plymouth, dead to leeward, but by a neat maneuver was able to get to the windward, or upwind, side of the enemy (i.e., west of the Armada, given the prevailing west winds) and hence gain the tactical initiative. In three encounters (off Plymouth, July 31 [July 21]; off Portland Bill, August 2 [July 23]; and off the Isle of Wight, August 4 [July 25]), the English harassed the Spanish fleet at long range and easily avoided all attempts to bring them to close action but were unable to inflict serious damage on the Spanish formation.

The Armada reached the Strait of Dover on August 6 (July 27) and anchored in an exposed position off Calais, Fr. The English also anchored, still to windward (west of the Armada), and were reinforced by a squadron that had been guarding the narrow seas. The first certain news of the Armada’s advance reached Parma in Flanders the same day, and he at once began embarking his troops in their invasion craft; but the process required six days, and the Armada had no safe port in which to wait for him, nor any means of escorting his small craft across the coastal shallows where Dutch and English warships cruised to intercept them. This defect in Spanish strategy was to prove disastrous.

At midnight on August 7–8 (July 28–29), the English launched eight fire ships before the wind and tide into the Spanish fleet, forcing the Spanish ships to cut or slip their cables (thus losing their anchors) and stand out to sea to avoid catching fire. The Spanish ships’ formation was thus completely broken. At dawn on the 8th the English attacked the disorganized Spanish ships off Gravelines, and a decisive battle ensued. The English ships now closed to effective range and were answered largely with small arms. The Spanish ships’ heavy guns were not mounted, nor were Spanish gunners trained to reload in action. They sustained serious damage and casualties without being able to reply effectively. Three Spanish ships were sunk or driven ashore, and others were badly battered. At the same time the English were obliged by shortage of ammunition to break off the action and follow at a distance. By the morning of August 9 (July 30), the prevailing westerly winds were driving the Spaniards toward the shoals of the Zeeland banks. At the last minute, however, the wind shifted and allowed them to shape a safe course to the northward. Both the west wind and the English fleet now prevented the Armada from rejoining Parma, and it was forced to make the passage back to Spain around the northern tip of Scotland. The English fleet turned back in search of supplies when the Armada passed the Firth of Forth and there was no further fighting, but the long voyage home through the autumn gales of the North Atlantic proved fatal to many of the Spanish ships. Whether through battle damage, bad weather, shortage of food and water, or navigational error, some ships foundered in the open sea, while others were driven onto the west coast of Ireland and wrecked. Only 60 ships are known to have reached Spain, many of them too badly damaged to be repaired, and perhaps 15,000 men perished. The English lost several hundred, perhaps several thousand, men to disease but sustained negligible damage and casualties in action.

The defeat of the Armada saved England from invasion and the Dutch Republic from extinction, while dealing a heavy blow to the prestige of the greatest European power of the age. Tactically the Armada action has enduring historical significance as the first major naval gun battle under sail and as the moment from which, for over two and a half centuries, the gun-armed sailing warship dominated the seas.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

 

Sir Francis Drake



English admiral

born c. 1540–43, Devonshire, England
died January 28, 1596, at sea, off Puerto Bello, Panama

Main
English admiral who circumnavigated the globe (1577–80) and was the most renowned seaman of the Elizabethan Age.

Early life
Born on the Crowndale estate of Lord Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford, Drake’s father, Edmund Drake, was the son of one of the latter’s tenant farmers. Edmund fled his native county after arraignment for assault and robbery in 1548. The claim that he was a refugee from Roman Catholic persecution was a later pious fiction. From even before his father’s departure, Francis was brought up among relatives in Plymouth: the Hawkins family, who combined vocations as merchants and pirates.

When Drake was about 18, he enlisted in the Hawkins family fleet, which prowled for shipping to plunder or seize off the French coast. By the early 1560s, he had graduated to the African trade, in which the Hawkins family had an increasing interest, and by 1568 he had command of his own ship on a Hawkins venture of illicit slave-trading in the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean.



8a  Drake's landing in California, engraving published 1590 by
Theodore De Bry


Voyages to the West Indies
Resenting the Spanish authorities’ claims to regulate their colonies’ trade and impound contraband, Drake later referred to some “wrongs” that he and his companions had suffered—wrongs that he was determined to right in the years to come. His second voyage to the West Indies, in company with John Hawkins, ended disastrously at San Juan de Ulúa off the coast of Mexico, when the English interlopers were attacked by the Spanish and many of them killed. Drake escaped during the attack and returned to England in command of a small vessel, the Judith, with an even greater determination to have his revenge upon Spain and the Spanish king, Philip II. Although the expedition was a financial failure, it brought Drake to the attention of Queen Elizabeth I, who had herself invested in the slave-trading venture. In the years that followed, he made two expeditions in small vessels to the West Indies, in order “to gain such intelligence as might further him to get some amend for his loss.” In 1572—having obtained from the queen a privateering commission, which amounted to a license to plunder in the king of Spain’s lands—Drake set sail for America in command of two small ships, the 70-ton Pasha and the 25-ton Swan. He was nothing if not ambitious, for his aim was to capture the important town of Nombre de Dios, Panama. Although Drake was wounded in the attack, which failed, he and his men managed to get away with a great deal of plunder by successfully attacking a silver-bearing mule train. This was perhaps the foundation of Drake’s fortune. In the interval between these episodes, he crossed the Isthmus of Panama. Standing on a high ridge of land, he first saw the Pacific, that ocean hitherto barred to all but Spanish ships. It was then, as he put it, that he “besought Almighty God of His goodness to give him life and leave to sail once in an English ship in that sea.” He returned to England both rich and famous. Unfortunately, his return coincided with a moment when Queen Elizabeth and King Philip II of Spain had reached a temporary truce. Although delighted with Drake’s success in the empire of her great enemy, Elizabeth could not officially acknowledge piracy. Drake saw that the time was inauspicious and sailed with a small squadron to Ireland, where he served under the earl of Essex and took part in a notorious massacre in July 1575. An obscure period of Drake’s life follows; he makes almost no appearance in the records until 1577.
 


Mapa de la flota de Drake en Santo Domingo.



Circumnavigation of the world
In 1577 he was chosen as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America through the Strait of Magellan and to explore the coast that lay beyond. The expedition was backed by the queen herself. Nothing could have suited Drake better. He had official approval to benefit himself and the queen, as well as to cause the maximum damage to the Spaniards. This was the occasion on which he first met the queen face-to-face and heard from her own lips that she “would gladly be revenged on the king of Spain for divers injuries that I have received.” The explicit object was to “find out places meet to have traffic.” Drake, however, devoted the voyage to piracy, without official reproof in England. He set sail in December with five small ships, manned by fewer than 200 men, and reached the Brazilian coast in the spring of 1578. His flagship, the Pelican, which Drake later renamed the Golden Hind (or Hinde), weighed only about 100 tons. It seemed little enough with which to undertake a venture into the domain of the most powerful monarch and empire in the world.

Upon arrival in South America, Drake alleged a plot by unreliable officers, and its supposed leader, Thomas Doughty, was tried and executed. Drake was always a stern disciplinarian, and he clearly did not intend to continue the venture without making sure that all of his small company were loyal to him. Two of his smaller vessels, having served their purpose as store ships, were then abandoned after their provisions had been taken aboard the others, and on August 21, 1578, he entered the Strait of Magellan. It took 16 days to sail through, after which Drake had his second view of the Pacific Ocean—this time from the deck of an English ship. Then, as he wrote, “God by a contrary wind and intolerable tempest seemed to set himself against us.” During the gale, Drake’s vessel and that of his second in command had been separated; the latter, having missed a rendezvous with Drake, ultimately returned to England, presuming that the Hind had sunk. It was, therefore, only Drake’s flagship that made its way into the Pacific and up the coast of South America. He passed along the coast like a whirlwind, for the Spaniards were quite unguarded, having never known a hostile ship in their waters. He seized provisions at Valparaíso, attacked passing Spanish merchantmen, and captured two very rich prizes that were carrying bars of gold and silver, minted Spanish coinage, precious stones, and pearls. He claimed then to have sailed to the north as far as 48° N, on a parallel with Vancouver [Canada], to seek the Northwest Passage back into the Atlantic. Bitterly cold weather defeated him, and he coasted southward to anchor near what is now San Francisco. He named the surrounding country New Albion and took possession of it in the name of Queen Elizabeth.

In July 1579 he sailed west across the Pacific and after 68 days sighted a line of islands (probably the remote Palau group). From there he went on to the Philippines, where he watered ship before sailing to the Moluccas. There he was well received by a local sultan and succeeded in buying spices. Drake’s deep-sea navigation and pilotage were always excellent, but in those totally uncharted waters his ship struck a reef. He was able to get her off without any great damage and, after calling at Java, set his course across the Indian Ocean for the Cape of Good Hope. Two years after she had nosed her way into the Strait of Magellan, the Golden Hind came back into the Atlantic with only 56 of the original crew of 100 left aboard.

On September 26, 1580, Francis Drake took his ship into Plymouth Harbour. She was laden with treasure and spices, and Drake’s fortune was permanently made. Despite Spanish protests about his piratical conduct while in their imperial waters, Queen Elizabeth herself went aboard the Golden Hind, which was lying at Deptford in the Thames estuary, and personally bestowed knighthood on him.
 


Mapa de la ruta de Drake alrededor del mundo


Mayor of Plymouth
In the same year, 1581, Drake was made mayor of Plymouth, an office he fulfilled with the same thoroughness that he had shown in all other matters. He organized a water supply for Plymouth that served the city for 300 years. Drake’s first wife, a Cornish woman named Mary Newman, whom he had married in 1569, died in 1583, and in 1585 he married again. His second wife, Elizabeth Sydenham, was an heiress and the daughter of a local Devonshire magnate, Sir George Sydenham. In keeping with his new station, Drake purchased a fine country house—Buckland Abbey (now a national museum)—a few miles from Plymouth. Drake’s only grief was that neither of his wives bore him any children.

During these years of fame when Drake was a popular hero, he could always obtain volunteers for any of his expeditions. But he was very differently regarded by many of his great contemporaries. Such well-born men as the naval commander Sir Richard Grenville and the navigator and explorer Sir Martin Frobisher disliked him intensely. He was the parvenu, the rich but common upstart, with West Country manners and accent and with none of the courtier’s graces. Drake had even bought Buckland Abbey from the Grenvilles by a ruse, using an intermediary, for he knew that the Grenvilles would never have sold it to him directly. It is doubtful, in any case, whether he cared about their opinions, so long as he retained the goodwill of the queen. This was soon enough demonstrated when in 1585 Elizabeth placed him in command of a fleet of 25 ships. Hostilities with Spain had broken out once more, and he was ordered to cause as much damage as possible to the Spaniards’ overseas empire. Drake fulfilled his commission, capturing Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands and taking and plundering the cities of Cartagena in Colombia, St. Augustine in Florida, and San Domingo (now Santo Domingo, Hispaniola). Lord Burghley, Elizabeth’s principal minister, who had never approved of Drake or his methods, was forced to concede that “Sir Francis Drake is a fearful man to the king of Spain.”


Failure of the Spanish Armada
By 1586 it was known that Philip II was preparing a fleet for what was called “The Enterprise of England” and that he had the blessing of Pope Sixtus V to return the crown to the fold of Rome. Drake was given carte blanche by the queen to “impeach the provisions of Spain.” In the following year, with a fleet of some 30 ships, he showed that her trust in him had not been misplaced. He stormed into the Spanish harbour of Cádiz and in 36 hours destroyed numerous vessels and thousands of tons of supplies, all of which had been destined for the Armada. This action, which he laughingly referred to as “singeing the king of Spain’s beard,” helped to delay the invasion fleet for a further year. But the resources of Spain were such that by July 1588 the Armada was in the English Channel. Lord Howard had been chosen as English admiral to oppose it. Drake appropriated a prize—a Spanish galleon disabled in an accidental collision—but, although credited by legend with a heroic role, is not known to have played any part in the fighting.


Last years
Drake’s later years, however, were not happy. An expedition that he led to Portugal proved abortive, and his last voyage, in 1596 against the Spanish possessions in the West Indies, was a failure, largely because the fleet was decimated by a fever to which Drake himself succumbed. He was buried at sea off the town of Puerto Bello (modern Portobelo, Panama). As the Elizabethan historian John Stow wrote:

He was more skilful in all points of navigation than any.…He was also of a perfect memory, great observation, eloquent by nature.…In brief he was as famous in Europe and America, as Timur Lenk [Tamerlane] in Asia and Africa.

At home his reputation was equivocal. Fellow captains found him unreliable and self-seeking. His Spanish victims, however, conceded grudging admiration: he was credited with diabolical powers as a navigator and became the antihero of works of literature, in which he was celebrated for courtesy to prisoners. But to the Spaniards he was also, as their ambassador to England remarked, “the master-thief of the unknown world.” He was “low of stature, of strong limb, round-headed, brown hair, full-bearded, his eyes round, large and clear, well-favoured face and of a cheerful countenance.” His life was dedicated to self-aggrandizement and revenge directed at Spain. But his legend influenced English self-perceptions, for he was credited with feats of sangfroid, unflappability, improvisation, tenacity, and fair play, most of which have little or no basis in fact.

Ernle Bradford
Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 

 

Sir Walter Raleigh


Walter Raleigh

English explorer
Raleigh also spelled Ralegh

born 1554?, Hayes Barton, near Budleigh Salterton, Devon, England
died October 29, 1618, London

Main
English adventurer and writer, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who knighted him in 1585. Accused of treason by Elizabeth’s successor, James I, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London and eventually put to death.

Raleigh was a younger son of Walter Raleigh (d. 1581) of Fardell in Devon, by his third wife, Katherine Gilbert (née Champernowne). In 1569 he fought on the Huguenot (French Protestant) side in the Wars of Religion in France, and he is known later to have been at Oriel College, Oxford (1572), and at the Middle Temple law college (1575). In 1580 he fought against the Irish rebels in Munster, and his outspoken criticism of the way English policy was being implemented in Ireland brought him to the attention of Queen Elizabeth. By 1582 he had become the monarch’s favourite, and he began to acquire lucrative monopolies, properties, and influential positions. His Irish service was rewarded by vast estates in Munster. In 1583 the queen secured him a lease of part of Durham House in the Strand, London, where he had a monopoly of wine licenses (1583) and of the export of broadcloth (1585); and he became warden of the stannaries (the Cornish tin mines), lieutenant of Cornwall, and vice admiral of Devon and Cornwall and frequently sat as a member of Parliament. In 1587, two years after he had been knighted, Raleigh became captain of the queen’s guard. His last appointment under the crown was as governor of Jersey (one of the Channel Islands) in 1600.

In 1592 Raleigh acquired the manor of Sherborne in Dorset. He wanted to settle and found a family. His marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, possibly as early as 1588, had been kept a secret from the jealous queen. In 1592 the birth of a son betrayed him, and he and his wife were both imprisoned in the Tower of London. Raleigh bought his release with profits from a privateering voyage in which he had invested, but he never regained his ascendancy at court. The child did not survive; a second son, Walter, was born in 1593 and a third son, Carew, in 1604 or 1605.

Although Raleigh was the queen’s favourite, he was not popular. His pride and extravagant spending were notorious, and he was attacked for unorthodox thought. A Jesuit pamphlet in 1592 accused him of keeping a “School of Atheism,” but he was not an atheist in the modern sense. He was a bold talker, interested in skeptical philosophy, and a serious student of mathematics as an aid to navigation. He also studied chemistry and compounded medical formulas. The old idea that Shakespeare satirized Raleigh’s circle under the name of the "School of Night" is now entirely discredited.

Raleigh’s breach with the queen widened his personal sphere of action. Between 1584 and 1589 he had tried to establish a colony near Roanoke Island (in present North Carolina), which he named Virginia, but he never set foot there himself. In 1595 he led an expedition to what is now Venezuela, in South America, sailing up the Orinoco River in the heart of Spain’s colonial empire. He described the expedition in his book The Discoverie of Guiana (1596). Spanish documents and stories told by Indians had convinced him of the existence of Eldorado (El Dorado), the ruler of Manoa, a supposedly fabulous city of gold in the interior of South America. He did locate some gold mines, but no one supported his project for colonizing the area. In 1596 he went with Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex, on an unsuccessful expedition to the Spanish city of Cádiz, and he was Essex’s rear admiral on the Islands voyage in 1597, an expedition to the Azores.

Raleigh’s aggressive policies toward Spain did not recommend him to the pacific King James I (reigned 1603–25). His enemies worked to bring about his ruin, and in 1603 he and others were accused of plotting to dethrone the king. Raleigh was convicted on the written evidence of Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, and, after a last-minute reprieve from the death sentence, was consigned to the Tower. He fought to save Sherborne, which he had conveyed in trust for his son, but a clerical error invalidated the deed. In 1616 he was released but not pardoned. He still hoped to exploit the wealth of Venezuela, arguing that the country had been ceded to England by its native chiefs in 1595. With the king’s permission, he financed and led a second expedition there, promising to open a gold mine without offending Spain. A severe fever prevented his leading his men upriver. His lieutenant, Lawrence Kemys, burned a Spanish settlement but found no gold. Raleigh’s son Walter died in the action. King James invoked the suspended sentence of 1603, and in 1618, after writing a spirited defense of his acts, Raleigh was executed.

Popular feeling had been on Raleigh’s side ever since 1603. After 1618 his occasional writings were collected and published, often with little discrimination. The authenticity of some minor works attributed to him is still unsure. Some 560 lines of verse in his hand are preserved. They address the queen as Cynthia and complain of her unkindness, probably with reference to his imprisonment of 1592. His best-known prose works in addition to The Discoverie of Guiana are A Report of the Truth of the Fight About the Iles of Açores This Last Sommer (1591; generally known as The Last Fight of the Revenge) and The History of the World (1614). The last work, undertaken in the Tower, proceeds from the Creation to the 2nd century bc. History is shown as a record of God’s Providence, a doctrine that pleased contemporaries and counteracted the charge of atheism. King James was meant to note the many warnings that the injustice of kings is always punished.

Raleigh survives as an interesting and enigmatic personality rather than as a force in history. He can be presented either as a hero or as a scoundrel. His vaulting imagination, which could envisage both North and South America as English territory, was supported by considerable practical ability and a persuasive pen, but some discrepancy between the vision and the deed made him less effective than his gifts had promised.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

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