Elizabeth I, 1558-1603

Key Events

 1558  Elizabeth becomes Queen on the death of her half-sister, Mary.
 1559  Elizabeth is crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey in January.
 1559  Mary Queen of Scots in Paris declares herself Queen of France, Scotland and England when her husband Francis becomes King of France. He dies a year later and Mary returns to Scotland.
 1559  Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity restore the Protestant Church in England and make Elizabeth Head of the Church of England.
 1559  The Revised Prayer Book of Elizabeth I is issued. It is less extreme than its predecessors
 1560  Elizabeth founds Westminster School
 1562  Hawkins and Drake make first slave-trading voyage to America.
 1562  Elizabeth gives aid to the Protestant Huguenots in the French Wars of Religion. English troops occupy Dieppe and Le Havre.
 1563  John Foxe’s The Book of Martyrs, the story of religious persecution, is published in England.
 1563  -1564 17,000 die of the Plague in London which is believed to have been brought back by troops returning from Le Havre.
 1564  Peace made between England and France at Troyes.
 1565  Sir Walter Raleigh brings potatoes and tobacco from the New World
 1566  Elizabeth forbids Parliament to discuss her marriage prospects.
 1568  Mary Queen of Scots, flees to England from Scotland and is imprisoned by Elizabeth.
 1569  Elizabeth I approves Sunday sports
 1570  Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth from the Catholic Church.
 1577  – 1580 Francis Drake sails around the world in the Golden Hind.
 1579  Francis, Duke of Alencon, secretly comes to England to try and marry Elizabeth.
 1581  Francis Drake knighted by Queen Elizabeth on the deck of The Golden Hind.
 1584  Sir Walter Raleigh founds the first American colony and names it Virginia after Elizabeth the Virgin Queen
 1584  Oakham School founded by Archdeacon Robert Johnson
 1585  William Shakespeare leaves Stratford for London to become an aspiring playwright
 1586  Babington Catholic plot to assassinate Elizabeth I
 1586  Mary Queen of Scots, who had fled from Scotland to England, is implicated in the Babington plot and is sent to trial.
 1587  Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed at Fotheringhay Castle on charges of treason.
 1587  Drake attacks the Spanish fleet in Cadiz.
 1587  Raleigh’s second expedition to New World lands in North Carolina. Drake destroys the Spanish fleet at Cadiz.
 1588  Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and a favourite of Elizabeth, dies.
 1588  A Spanish Armada of 130 ships sailing against England is defeated by bad weather and the English fleet under Admiral Drake and John Hawkins using fireships. Many were wrecked trying to return by sailing round the north of the British Isles. The English dominance of the sea leaves the way open for English trade and colonisation of America and India.
 1588  Earl of Essex leads an expedition to Ireland.
 1589  John Harrington invents the first flushing water closet at his house at Kelston, Bath. He calls it ‘Ajax’ a pun on the Elizabethan slang word ‘Jakes’ for a privy. Elizabeth I orders a Harrington WC to be installed at Richmond Palace.
 1590  Shakespeare writes Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
 1593  15,000 Londoners die of the Plague. All theatres are closed for one year. Playwright Christopher Marlow is murdered.
 1595  Sir Walter Raleigh makes his first expedition to the South American continent. He explores 300 miles of the Orinoco searching for El Dorado.
 1599  Earl of Tyrone leads a rebellion against the English in Ireland.
 1599  The Globe Theatre is opened in London.
 1600  East India Company founded
 1601  Earl of Essex is executed for leading a revolt against Elizabeth.
 1601  Poor Law is passed introducing a poor relief rate on property owners.
 1601  First performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
 1603  Elizabeth I dies at Richmond Palace, Surrey.



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A collection of predominantly English coins from the Tudor era to the present day

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