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Mary, Queen of Scots



The great trouble of Elizabeth's reign was with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. Mary was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII by his daughter Margaret. As the Roman Church had never recognised the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother, Mary Queen of Scots could regard herself as rightful Queen of England.

Mary Stuart, who had married the Dauphin of France, became the Queen of France for a very short period and after quick death of her husband came back to Scotland in 1561.

In Scotland Mary Queen of Scots married her cousin Henry, Lord of Darnley in 1565. After the death of Darnley, who was said to be murdered by Mary's order, Queen of Scots fled from Scotland to England, where she threw herself on the mercy of the Queen of England. Elizabeth could neither allow Mary stay in England nor come back to France — in both cases Mary was very dangerous.

While Mary was staying in England, a great number of plots, which aimed at putting Mary on the English throne was discovered. Finally, after more than 20 years of Mary's exile, Elizabeth came to a decision to put Mary on trial for her support of the plots.

In 1587, the trial found Mary guilty in struggle against the English Queen. Mary was executed and the struggle between the rival Queens came to an end.

Elizabethan Times

Spanish King Philip after the death of Mary Stuart claimed the English throne. To enforce this claim in 1588 he sent Spanish fleet of 130 vessels called the Invincible Armada against England. The part of the great Armada was defeated by eight English fire-ships led by Francis Drake, other ships were driven by the storm to rocks. Only fewer than half of Spanish ships returned to Spain. This victory established English naval supremacy and put an end to Spanish colonial hegemony.

In the 16th century, many famous English adventurers — the Sea-dogs tried to attack Spanish treasure ships and colonial possessions which were seen as lands of treasure. These Sea-dogs were secretly supported by Queen Elizabeth who understood the importance of colonial expansion. Elizabeth also assisted the merchants who wanted to establish overseas trade and found colonial settlements. They were granted charters and patents from the Queen.

With the support of the Queen Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world in 1577—1580, in 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh founded the first English colony in America. In 1601, the East India Company was founded to become soon the greatest English economic organisation.

In foreign policy Elizabeth I displayed great tact, encouraging various suitors for her hand, but avoiding any engagements. She was also the first monarch in England, who used religious beliefs as a tool in foreign policy. Secretly helping French and German Protestants she weakened balance of power in the countries, so she weakened her enemies.



The main attention of the Queen in domestic affairs was paid to economic growth, social improvement and intellectual development. In towns manufactures and trade showed the progress of industrialisation — trained craftsmen united into large manufacturing centres with former merchants as bosses. Foreign merchants now were replaced by powerful trade companies, which had their own ships. Close contacts with foreign countries led to the spread of such new industries as gunpowder, glass-making, sea-salt extraction.

The period of Elizabeth's reign was also a period of intellectual and poetic freedom, which reached its peak by the end of the 16th century. That was the golden age of English literature and culture — so-called English Renaissance.

The famous Renaissance poets and artists brought the Renaissance spirit of optimistic hopefulness and joy enriched English patriotism and consolidation. The English were becoming a prosperous nation, proud of their monarch and their country.

Cultural Focus: English Renaissance

English Renaissance began later than in southern European countries, but preserved the same traits as there — it took many ideas from Roman and Greek works of ancient times, it led to deeper study of classics, to the foundations of grammar schools, new universities and colleges. Usually the three periods within the Renaissance are distinguished:

The early Tudor period was a time of transition from late medieval to Renaissance culture. Its characteristic feature is peculiar Tudor architecture, where Renaissance elements were mingled with Gothic tradition. Also it saw the spread of the New Learning ideas supported by Sir Thomas More.

The reign of Queen Elizabeth and the activities of William Shakespeare. This period saw the development of the English language to its height as an instrument of poetry and prose. The greatest English poets and dramatists as Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Edmund Spencer, Philip Sidney and many others worked at that time. The drama was widely popular — not only the plays of famous contemporary dramatists, but also classical Greek and Roman plays were staged.

The third period of Renaissance began after the death of Shakespeare and ended with the beginning or the Puritan revolution. It is associated with the names of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was a period of increasing decline of drama.

The Renaissance also gave a push to the development of science. With the help of the famous scientist Francis Bacon the Royal Society was formed.

Task 4.Answer the following questions.

1.Why did Henry VII from the House of Lancaster marry Elizabeth of York?

2.What was Henry VH's reign noted for?

3.What was the economic situation in England when Henry VIII began his reign?

4.What was the main aim of Henry VHI's foreign policy?

5.Why was the title of the Defender of Faith given to Henry VIII?

6.What was the main idea of the Reformation?

7.What were the steps of the religious Reformation, provided by Protector in the reign of Edward VI?

8.Why did Queen Mary get the title "Bloody"?

9.What was the reason of the establishing Poor Rate?

10.What were the laws that helped Elizabeth I to complete the Reformation?

11.Why could Mary Queen of Scots regard herself as a rightful Queen of England?

12.Why was English victory over the Invincible Armada of great importance for England?

13.How did Elizabeth use Protestantism as a tool in foreign policy?

14.What were the most famous representatives of English Renaissance?

Task 5.Vocabulary development. State the meaning of the derivatives and complete the sentences.

Assumption, assume

a) Elizabeth_ the crown after the death of her half-brother Edward.

b)The revolutionaries of power took the army by surprise.

Accede, accession

a) 1509 is the year of Henry VIII's to the throne.

b)Henry VIII to the throne in 1509.





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