Biography of Elizabeth of England I The "Virgin Queen" of England.

His reign laid the foundations of the subsequent greatness of England and maritime power that would make it possible to forge its colonial empire.
The reign of Isabel I of England, prototype of the authoritarian monarch of the five hundred, has a historical first magnitude interest inasmuch as it was the Foundation of the greatness of England and laid the foundations of the British preponderance in Europe, which would reach its zenith in the 18th and 19th centuries. But the star of this golden age, which we know under the name of "Elizabethan era", stands before us for its no less singular life private, full of enigmas, dramatic moments, dangers and extravagances. Elizabeth I, sovereign of sweeping a talent and a character, felt an almost pathological dislike for marriage and wanted to be remembered as the "Virgin Queen", though its multiple virtues was virginity only quite questionable.

Elizabeth I of England
After divorce the first of his six wives, Catherine of Aragon Spanish devoted, in 1533 King Enrique VIII of England married his mistress, the haughty and ambitious Ana Bolena, who were in advanced state of gestation. This expected stem, had to solve the problem of the lack of male descendants of the monarch, to whom Catherine had only given a daughter, Maria, who walk time reign as Maria I. Although the new marriage had not been recognized by the Church of Rome and Enrique VIII had just be excommunicated by their sinful rebellion, close and long-awaited delivery of the Prince filled with joy all hearts and the King in the first place. He was only missing the sovereign to comply with its mission, giving birth a son alive and well that would be called Henry, like his father. The 7 September 1533 was the happy event, but it turned out that Ana Bolena gave birth not to a child but to a girl, the future Isabel I of England.

A turbulent family

The monarch suffered a terrible disappointment. The fact of having a female lighting considerably weakened the position of the Queen, even more when the disappointed father was forced to break definitively with Rome and to declare the independence of the Anglican Church, all by a Prince that had never been conceived. When two years later Ana Bolena gave birth to a dead child, his fate was sealed: was accused of adultery, undergoing trial and beheaded at the age of twenty-nine. His daughter Isabel was declared a bastard and was in the same situation that her half-sister Mary, daughter of the first marriage Enrique VIII with Catherine of Aragon and seventeen years older than her. Both were deprived of their legitimate rights of inheritance to the throne of England.
Ana Bolena was replaced in the thalamus and the throne for Juana Seymour, the only sweet wife of Enrique VIII, who gave him a male heir, the future King Eduardo VI. Dead Juana Seymour, the ludicrous Anne of Cleves and the frivolous Catherine Howard girded on the Crown, being finally relieved by a lady (widowed twice at the age of thirty) who would be for the decrepit monarch, now in the last stage of his life, more nurse that wife: the friendly and kindly Catalina Parr. In 1543, shortly before the sixth wedding of the King, the decrees of bastardy of Maria and Isabel were revoked and both were called to the Court; the wishes of Catalina Parr had for the old sovereign status of law and she wanted children, daughters in the end and after her husband and therefore your responsibility, to be in your company.
Isabel was ten years old when he returned to Greenwich, where he was born and the Court was installed. It was a beautiful girl, wake up redhead as all the Tudor and slender as Ana Bolena. There, from the hands of mentors undoubtedly close to Protestantism, he received a careful education that led him to own a solid humanistic education. He read Greek and latin, and spoke perfect main European languages of the era: French, Italian and Spanish. Catalina Parr was for her as a mother to death Enrique VIII, who before expiring officially arranged the succession order: first Eduardo, his male heir; After Mary, the daughter of Catherine of Aragon; Finally Isabel, daughter of his second wife. Catalina Parr sent rush funerals and fifteen days later married Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Juana, whose love had resigned three years ago before the call of duty and royalty. This hasty marriage to Seymour, reputed seducer, was the first and the only folly committed by the prudent and discreet Catalina Parr throughout his life.

Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour was desirous to be King and had studied in detail all its possibilities. For him, Catalina Parr was nothing more than a stepping stone toward the throne. Since Eduardo VI was a sickly boy and his immediate heir, María Tudor, also presented a delicate health, was to seduce the young Isabel, whose force heralded a long life and whose head was the stronger candidate to wear the Crown in the near future. Sweet words, kisses, and apparently paternal caresses soon fall in love with Isabel; one day, Catalina Parr surprised embraced her husband and his stepdaughter; the Princess was confined at Hatfield, North of London, and the sensual likenesses of the libertine began to circulate by the mouth of the courtiers.
Catalina Parr died in September 1548 and the English began to wonder if not it would have been "helped" to travel to the other world by her unfaithful husband, who did not hesitate to be accused of "maintaining relations with his grace Princess Isabel" and "conspiring to marry her, since, as a sister of his Majesty Eduardo, it had possibilities to succeed him on the throne". The subsequent process gave the bones by Seymour in the gloomy Tower of London, prelude for a brief but definitive visit to the gallows; quinceanera Princess falling in disgrace and to follow the footsteps of her ambitious lover, fought back with unusual energy of the slanders that they accused her of carrying a son of Seymour in the bowels and, displaying a Regal pride and an intelligence much higher than their years, it came out unscathed scandal. March 20, 1549, the head of Thomas Seymour was separated from his body by the executioner; knowing it, the precocious Isabel was limited to say coldly: "Has died a man of much ingenuity and poor judgment."
For the first time had been a quality that the future Queen retained throughout its existence: an exceptional talent to deal with the problems and get out of situations. Although his dislike for marriage seemed to originate in the tragic episode of Seymour, Isabel also learned the art of the quick counterattack following the event and the clever concealment, essential to survive in those turbulent days.

Maria I
When Eduardo died in 1553, Isabel María I front of Juana Grey, great-granddaughter of Enrique VIII was proclaimed Queen 10 July 1553 to shortly after being arrested and sentenced to death in the process by the conspiracy of Thomas Wyat, supported a movement aimed to prevent the marriage of María I with his nephew Philip (future Felipe II of Spain) in order to avoid the predictable ultra-Catholic reaction of the Queen. During the investigation of this case, Isabel was imprisoned for some months in the Tower of London, as his penchant for Protestant doctrine made it suspect in the eyes of her half-sister, despite the support that Isabel had given him.
The reign of María I was unfortunate. Her persecution of Protestants earned him to be known as María the bloody; and its alliance with Spain outraged the English, especially since it led to a disastrous war against France in which England lost Calais and the economic development of the country was quite unfavorable. In 1558 Mary died childless and, in accordance with the testament of Enrique VIII, Isabel should succeed her. The Catholic party returned to wield their arguments about the illegitimacy of the heiress and supported the claims of his cousin María I Estuardo de Escocia. However, the mistakes of the previous reign and known indifference of Isabel in the religious controversy made that it ended being accepted readily by Protestants as by most Catholics. Also influenced his acceptance their young, beautiful and healthy appearance that contrasted markedly with his two half-brothers: sick one, aged and bitter the other.

The Elizabethan era

Daughter and sister of Kings used to cope with adversity and to stay away from machinations, Isabel I occupied the throne at the age of twenty-five. It was the Queen of England and it was going to be strict with everything what is related to the rights of the Crown, but it would continue being prudent, calculator and tolerant in everything else, without more objective that preserve its interests and those of his country, who lived in seething religious intellectual and economic and that he had an exaggerated nationalist sentiment. One of his first acts of Government was to appoint the first Secretary of State to sir William Cecil, a man from the high bourgeoisie and which shared the wisdom and tolerance of the Queen. Cecil kept the full confidence of Isabel I for forty years; dying, his Adviser post was occupied by his son.

Elizabeth I to the Parliament
In the religious field, Isabel I restored Anglicanism and placed it on an average between the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic tradition. In the political field the biggest threat came from Scotland, where María I Estuardo, Catholic and francophile, proclaimed their rights to the throne of England. In 1560, the Scottish Calvinists asked for help to Elizabeth, who saw an opportunity to weaken his adversary, and in 1568, when the Scottish Queen had to take refuge in England, made it locked in prison. On the other hand, Isabel I indirectly helped the Protestants of France and the Netherlands, while English sailors and traders were aware of Atlantic possibilities and faced the Spanish monopoly in America.
Inevitably, therefore, the clash between England and Spain, the former ally in time of María I. While Felipe II of Spain gave credit to his Ambassador in London and the same María Estuardo, who claimed that there were conditions for a Catholic rebellion that would give the throne to María Estuardo in England, Queen Elizabeth and his advisor William Cecil supported actions Corsair against Spanish interests, drove the construction of a modern naval fleet and were trying to delay the showdown between the two kingdoms. After being the center of several unsuccessful conspiracies, in 1587 María Estuardo was sentenced to death and executed. Philip II, lost the trick of substitution of Isabel Maria, carefully prepared and announced to the four winds the invasion of England.
In 1588, when Drake attacked the Galician coast to avoid concentrations of ships, were made to the sea 130 warships and more than 30 accompanying boats, manned by 8,000 sailors and nearly 20,000 soldiers: was the Spanish Armada, which later, according to the plans, had to support the 100,000 men who had Alejandro Farnesio in Flanders. The Spaniards had a battle to tackle and a landing; the English, on the other hand, had worked to perfect the war at sea. Its 200 ships, lighter and more maneuverable, were manned by 12,000 sailors and its cannons had longer range than the Spaniards. All of this, combined with the fury of the elements (as Spanish ships were not the most adequate to withstand the storms of the Ocean) led to the English victory and the Spanish disaster.

The Queen against the Spanish Armada
Queen Isabel I, who had personally harangued his troops, was considered the epitome of the English victory and increased the high degree of rapport that already had with his people. After this climactic moment of 1588, the last years of the reign of Isabel I appear quite grey; they only excels the concern of the Queen to put order in the skinny English finance; the rebellion of Irish, soon suppressed; and the growth of Protestant radicalism.
Despite the fact that one of the constants of England at the time of Isabel I were dynastic conflicts, the Queen never married. They have been developed many theories about this fact, from which attributed her single status to physical malformations to which seek psychological explanations derived from their childhood trauma. In any case, Isabel I made various marriage negotiations, all of which played to fund the diplomatic letter to obtain advantages for their country. On the other hand, he had many favorites, from his great Squire lord Robert Dudley to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, twenty years younger that she and who paid with the life attempt to mix political influence with the affair, something Isabel I never allowed the men who gave their favors.
The humanistic education of Isabel I led her to be interested in the important events that occurred during his reign in the art field. Called «Elizabethan Renaissance» manifested in architecture, music and above all in literature, with writers such as John Lyly, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, real creators of the English national literature. For the economy during his reign began the development of the modern England. Its religious policy allowed to be established in their numerous domains refugees fleeing repression in the Netherlands, which, together with the Government protectionism, pushed the cloth industry. The growth of commercial activity and rivalry with Spain resulted in a great development of the shipbuilding industry.

Elizabeth I in a portrait attributed
to George Gower (c. 1590)
Towards the year 1598, Isabel seemed, according to expression of a scathing courtier, "a stark and cover jewelry Mummy". Bald, Withers and grotesque, pretending to be still for his subjects perfect embodiment of virtue, justice, and beauty. It was slowly sinking into the shadows that herald the death. The agony was pathetic. Although his body was covered with sores, continued ordering that dress it lavishly and will adorn it with their ostentatious jewelry, and did not smile showing his stark gums whenever an ambitious and fawning courtier galanteaba it with a badly disguised grimace of disgust on their lips. He died March 24, 1603, after designated successor Jacobo VI of Scotland and I of England, son of María I Estuardo, which began the process of unification of the two kingdoms. His last gesture was placed on his chest the hand that sported the coronation ring, testimony of the union, stronger than the marriage of the Virgin Queen with his Kingdom and his beloved town.

Chronology of Elizabeth I of England

1533Born in Greenwich Palace, shortly after the marriage of her parents: King Enrique VIII and Ana Bolena, his second wife.
1536Henry VIII sends run to his mother, Ana Bolena, and declares without succession rights and bastard daughter Isabel.
1543Shortly before her sixth marriage (to Catalina Parr), Enrique VIII revokes his declaration of bastardy.
1547Death of Enrique VIII, which your child happens on the throne Eduardo VI.
1549Comes out unscathed accusations of plot with Thomas Seymour.
1553Death of Eduardo VI. Maria I, after aborting the attempt at usurpation of Juana Grey happens.
1554Accused falsely of having supported Juana Grey, is imprisoned for a few months in the Tower of London.
1558Death of Maria I. Isabel is crowned Queen of England.
1559It passes the Act of supremacy and the Act of uniformity, edicts that strengthen Protestantism without outlawing Catholics.
1572Francis Drake attacks Panama and is made with Peruvian metals loading destined for Spain.
1583Seriously deteriorate the relations with Spain.
1584The first English colonists settled in the new world.
1587After neutralizing several of their attempts to take over the English throne, ordering the execution of María Estuardo.
1588The attempted invasion of England's Philip II ends with the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
1603He died at Richmond Palace.

Elizabeth I of England and his reign

Elizabeth I got to give England the conditions of inner peace and economic development required to occupy a privileged place in the European political landscape of the 17TH century and laid the groundwork for the growth of English sea power in the following centuries. The merchant fleet was strengthened considerably and expanded the radius of their businesses thanks to the establishment of the monarchy-sponsored trade companies and that enjoyed monopoly: the company of merchant adventurers and the Eastern company vied with the Hansa in the Baltic; the Muscovy company developed trade with Russia and Persia; the lift company competed with Spanish and Venetian in the Eastern Mediterranean. The East India Company, that would put the foundations of the British power in Asia was founded in 1600. The British also became interested commercially in America. Marine as Frobisher and John Davis departed in search of the Northwest Passage. The first colonial implantation attempt was made by Ralegh at the Virginia in 1584.

Elizabeth I of England
The economic development of the country was so favored during his reign. The wool industry, the country's main wealth, received a new boost to the warmth of relations with the Netherlands. However, economic prosperity benefited only the bourgeoisie and landowners, which accelerated the process of enclosures to the detriment of farmers. Isabel only acted against this process to impose harsh measures against begging (poor laws) which had been doomed masses of peasants, excluded from the communal agricultural exploitation by the fencing of fields. The poor were gathered in "work houses", where they were treated as servants under threat of death.
Recognized as one of the most brilliant monarchs of England, his reign met also the internal pacification after the struggles of religion of the previous monarchs. The Queen tried to reinforce regio centralism and the mechanisms of the absolutism in the making. Although in his long reign he called only three times Parliament, not clashes serious between two instances of power. Only at the end of the period the Parliament, partly under the influence of the Puritan ideas hostile to the Royal absolutism, rebelled against Isabel because of the excessive costs of the Crown and the sale of monopolies.
The Queen endorsed the strategy of Enrique VIII practical authority, ruling with extreme energy. It profited from the strengthening process of the monarchical authority undertaken by the Tudor and often made use of the so-called "royal prerogative", set of rights allowing arbitrariness. He surrounded himself with a small group of advisers who formed the Privy Council, as William Cecil (between 1572 and 1598), Chancellor Nicholas Bacon (1559-1579), the Earl of Leicester and the Secretary of Estado Francis Walsingham (1573 – 1590), without allowing their favorites to play a major political role.

William Cecil
Isabel was referred with admiration by his contemporaries. His taste for luxury and magnificence did run through Europe the fame of the lavishness of his court. But it stressed first and foremost by the splendor that reached the arts during the Elizabethan period. The English literature reached its zenith at this time. It was the golden age of English Theatre, Marlowe, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare. The literary life was equally adored by poets like Edmund Spenser and Philipp Sidney, by Essayists such as John Lyly and Francis Bacon, as well as the political philosophers such as Richard Hooker. Were schools of Rugby, Harrow, of Trinity College Dublin; and the music of Court met a beautiful development with the so called "virginalistas".

The restoration of Anglicanism

One of the main objectives of Isabel I to sit on the throne was to bring order to the religious question that was shaking the country since times of Enrique VIII. Its strategy accordingly sought the restoration of Anglicanism as the official religion. Despite having been crowned according to the Roman Rite, Isabel soon showed their willingness to continue the ecclesiastical policy of his father. It was guided by purely political considerations: the Queen wished to exercise the Supreme ecclesiastical authority, which at the same time opposed it to Catholic and Calvinist. Acting with great prudence, it enacted the Act of supremacy that once again put into effect the religious laws of Enrique VIII and Eduardo VI and that had been abolished in times of María Tudor in 1559.

Portrait of Elizabeth I (Quentyn
Metsys the younger, c. 1583)
The edict of 1559, but it reinforced the Protestantism and declared illegal mass celebration, was exceptionally tolerant of the Catholic population. Catholics were in principle exempt from compulsory attendance at the parish church in Exchange for payment of a moderate contribution and private worship celebration was not prosecuted except in the cases in which suspected of treachery to the monarchy. The Act of uniformity, voted that same year by the Parliament, restored the book of common prayer of Eduardo VI eliminating formulas resulting more offensive to Catholics. The Catholic Bishops appointed during the reign of María I protested, and Isabel responded by firing them all, thus leaving the high hierarchy of the Kingdom renewed completely. At the same time, Isabel cared not to be overtaken by Protestant fanaticism. In 1563, when Parliament adopted the profession of faith of the thirty-nine articles that rejected transubstantiation and admitted only two sacraments, the Queen decreed at the same time the maintenance of Catholic hierarchy and liturgy.
In 1570 the religious commitment, which had become bearable for the majority of the Catholic population, was abruptly broken by the interdict by Pope Pius V on "Isabel, the presumptive Queen of England". The Bull of excommunication desligaba all their subjects of their allegiance to the Queen. Thus Catholics were more due to the papal bull which by effect of the regia repression, converted into potential traitors. It increased the legal measures against Catholics in correlation with the increase in Catholic intransigence on the continent; Thus, from 1580, the Jesuit missionaries (surreptitiously sent by Spain to encourage the Catholic rebellion) were expelled from England or handed over to the executioner.
Isabel had to cope with a double opposition: on the one hand that of the Catholics, who were considered to be disconnected from their duty of loyalty after the excommunication of 1570 and who put their hopes in María Estuardo, the Catholic Queen of Scotland; on the other, of Presbyterian Calvinists, who rejected any vestige of Catholicism within the reformed church and the episcopal hierarchy. The Queen had to intensify crackdown on religious dissent. The celebration of the Catholic mass was banned completely, as well as the Presbyterian synods of Calvinists, who already began to be known as Puritans. In 1595 it became mandatory, under penalty of prison, attendance at Anglican worship. However, many fewer executions were for religious reasons during the long reign of the Elizabethan that during the five years in which María Tudor sat on the throne. The religious work of Isabel was lasting: she gave Anglicanism its finality and embarked on the road to the coexistence of different religious sects.

The strengthening of the legitimacy

In this context it is necessary to consider the problem posed by the claims of the Catholic María Estuardo: the Queen of Scotland, widow of Francisco II of France, became the center of Catholic conspiracies. María Estuardo, heiress of the Kingdom of Scotland, could also apply (for being the sister of Enrique VIII's daughter) as heir to the English throne. Those who considered illegal marriage between Ana Bolena and Enrique VIII also questioned the legitimacy of the birth of Elizabeth and their rights to the throne, and watched María Estuardo as potential Queen of England. In 1561, María Estuardo returned as Queen to Scotland after the death of her husband. Since then it not stopped efforts to gather under his sceptre the kingdoms of Scotland and England. So it would have the support of English Catholic dissidents.

Maria Stuart
In 1568, María Estuardo was expelled from Scotland by a general rebellion and had to take refuge in England, in whose court Isabel hosted it willingly in order to keep it under their control. For Isabel, it was too risky to let it go to the Mainland, where no doubt would seek the support of France or Spain in his claim to the English throne. Maria was presented with an honorable confinement, which did not prevent that you became the center of the political-religious intrigues against the Queen.
Between 1569 and 1570 was produced called "rebellion of the Earls", which had a double religious and political character: restored Catholicism in the territories of the revolt and was intended to compel Isabel to declare Mary as his successor on the throne. The bloody repression of this conspiracy meant the Elimination of the large County dynasties of Northern England. María Estuardo was involved in other three major plots that included attempts to regicide: the Ridolfi of 1571, the French Duke of guise of 1582 and the 1586 Babington.
Fearing that could reach a solid understanding with Spaniards, Parliament pressed Isabel to order the execution of María Estuardo. The 1580 papal declaration that ensured that it would not a sin to kill Isabel and the assassination in 1584 of Guillermo I the silent, organizer of the German resistance against the Spaniards, did fear for the life of Isabel. In 1585, the Parliament approved the law of preservation of the security of the Queen, which condemned to death to any person involved in an eventual regicide or who it will benefit directly. Isabel introduced an amendment to the text of the law, by which the heirs of those involved of regia condition only might be excluded from the succession to the throne of England where was proven at trial his own involvement in a conspiracy. This amendment made it possible to it, to the death of Elizabeth, the son of María Estuardo, Jacobo VI of Scotland, became King of England. One year after the adoption of the Act of security, María Estuardo was subjected to trial and found guilty of attempt against the life of Isabel. For three months the Queen took the corroboration of the death sentence, despite the pressure of his counselors and the Parliament. Finally, Mary was executed in February 1587.

Marriage and succession

Since the ascension to the throne of Isabel I raised the issue of her marriage in order to avoid new inheritance. The wedding of the Queen aroused great concern in Parliament, since it could depend of England international alliances at a time when Spanish hegemony in Europe kept the continent in a perpetual state of war. Isabel expressed its willingness to enter into marriage and during much of his reign played cleverly with the numerous proposals that reached him of the major European powers. Many marriage projects occurred from 16 to 56. Eric of Sweden, Enrique III and Enrique IV of France, Archduke Charles of Austria and the Duke of Alençon were among the suitors of the Queen. But Elizabeth would never marry; This unprecedented exception already disturbed from his reign to chroniclers and historians. Often it is called still the Virgin Queen (thus wanted to be called Isabel in his epitaph), emphasizing realize a chastity of religious root that the Queen never put their efforts.
In fact, Isabel maintained relationships with different men of his court: sir Christopher Hatton, lord Chancellor between 1587 and 1591; Sir Walter Raleigh, courtly compliment, adventurer and historian and, above all, lord Robert Dudley, who awarded the title of Duke of Leicester in 1564. His relationship with Dudley survived this secret marriage to Isabel, Lettice Knollys, Countess widow of Essex, premium in 1579. The news of his death in 1588 caused such pain to the Queen locked herself alone in their rooms for so long that, finally, lord Burghley, Treasurer largest and one of its most faithful servants, was forced to knock down the door.

Robert Dudley
The delay in getting marriage and continued foot-dragging of the Queen were run by all European courts fabrications about an unbridled lust that made him stop bastards troche and moche, or rumors about a mysterious physical defect that prevented him from sexual union. In 1579, in the course of the negotiations of marriage with the Duke of Alençon, brother of the King of France, lord Burghley wrote to her suitor: "His Majesty does not suffer any disease, or tara of his physical faculties in those parts that are used properly to the procreation of children".
The unusual fact that Elizabeth remained unmarried can be attributed with greater certainty the long-standing independence of the Queen and the emotional aftermath that, as a child, you certainly were brutal and arbitrary executions of his mother, Ana Bolena, and her stepmother, Catherine Howard, by order of Enrique VIII. In August 1566, Dudley wrote to the French Ambassador that he, who knew Elizabeth since she was a child, already then had heard you ensure that he would never marry. It has been also interpreted that Isabel wished to marry Dudley, but that the unpopularity of this and the suspicious death of his first wife did not recommended the union. In 1566, to the delay of the marriage of Isabel, the Parliament asked you marry, authorizing it to do so with who she wanted. However, neither then decided the Queen.
Apart from his undoubted personal motivations, there were also powerful political reasons which encouraged Elizabeth to remain unmarried or, rather, to play indefinitely with its possible wedding. The marriage negotiations were an essential resource of Elizabethan foreign policy, aimed to prevent the fall of his Kingdom in the orbit of the continental powers: Spain and France. His marriage to a Prince of the French or Spanish dynasties would have certainly meant the relegation of England to the plane of the troupes in European politics. Negotiations with the Duke of Alençon, brother of Enrique III of France and one of its most stubborn contenders, were, for example, a bargaining chip to secure English interests in the Spanish Netherlands.

The Spanish hegemony

On the relations between England and Spain they prevailed, above the religious issue or the commercial competition in the Atlantic, the traditional dynastic Alliance against France and the mutual economic interests in the Netherlands. Since the beginning of the Elizabethan reign, Felipe II of Spain had been forced to help Isabel I (despite the manifest intention of the Queen of championing the Protestant cause) compared the claims to the throne of María Estuardo. Although Catholic, María Estuardo was also Queen of Scotland and France; His ascension to the English throne would have been the Alliance of Crowns, English and French, which was unacceptable to Spain.

Philip II of Spain
Felipe II, widower of María Tudor, proposed marriage to Elizabeth in 1559. The union was advantageous for both: for Isabel, because it impeded the María Estuardo claims to the English throne; for the sovereign Spanish, because he shunned the meeting in the person of the Stuart of the crowns of Scotland, England and France. Philip II wanted to see installed on the throne of England to his daughter Isabella Clara Eugenia and away to England of the influence of France. Despite the interests at stake, Isabel disgust toward marriage and the fear of falling into the Spanish orbit made to the Queen reject the offer, but not before playing with this possibility to take advantage of the traditional Spanish-French rivalry in their favor.
Isabel supported the cause Protestant where this was threatened, while you were at your mood lead the reform, while attempting to maintain friendly relations with the Catholic powers. During the French wars of Religion it lent support to the Huguenots, in a form of provocation to the Spanish monarchy, who supported the Catholic cause. However, confrontation with Spain was due more to political and economic reasons that religious issues.
Since the beginning of the reign remained a State of deaf tension between England and Spain, while none of the contenders to consider appropriate to openly declare the conflagration until many years later. The clash between Spain and England became anyway inevitable before the English pretensions of breaking the Spanish trade monopoly in America. The actions of English sailors in the Atlantic, encouraged by the Queen, became progressively more violent since the 1970s. In 1571, the Corsair Francis Drake launched an unstoppable succession of acts of piracy in the Caribbean that soon spread to the rest of the American Atlantic coast. His around the world between 1577 and 1580 was greeted at the Elizabethan Court with great enthusiasm.

Francis Drake
But the most serious conflicts between the England of Elizabeth I and Philip II of Spain emerged as a result of the revolt of the Netherlands against the Spanish authority. The occupation of Flanders by the Spanish army from 1567 aroused the alarm of Isabel I, who saw how Spain installed a large force military on the other side of the English channel. On the other hand, the interests of the English trade in the area spurred Isabel to financially support the rebellion of the United provinces from 1577. The first hispano-inglesa rupture occurred in 1568, when Isabel seized the Genoese money intended to pay the thirds of Flanders who was traveling in Spanish ships arrived on British shores. This incident provoked the rupture of commercial relations between both monarchies. Isabel signed the Treaty of Blois, which both rulers established a defensive alliance against Spain with Carlos IX of France in 1572. This agreement was abruptly broken by the killing of Huguenots of the night of St. Bartholomew in 1572. With the Treaty of Bristol (1574), Isabel re-established relations with Spain, despite the precarious balance of relations in what concerned the Netherlands.
Despite the agreement of Blois, Isabel had never abandoned the Alliance with Spain, and in 1572 made a gesture of rapprochement by expelling the Dutch pirates who had taken refuge in the English coasts. However, the international successes of Felipe II worried Isabel, who feared that the Spanish monarchy rise its old draft to invade England. For this reason, Isabel decided to intervene directly in the conflict with the Netherlands. In the Treaty of Nonsuch in 1585, he promised help military to the United provinces in Exchange for these allow the installation of British garrisons in the ports of La Briel and flushing, from which the Spaniards could try a maritime invasion of the island. At the time that the Queen it sent military troops to Flanders, Drake was authorized to launch a violent offensive in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of the Iberian Peninsula.

Isabel Knight appoints Francis Drake
Since the confrontation between England and Spain escalated incessantly. The British intervened in the rebellion of the Netherlands, while Felipe II supported the Irish rebels and encouraging courtly conspiracies against Isabel. In 1583 the Spanish Ambassador in London participated, together with the guise, in a conspiracy that sought to kill Elizabeth and sit on the throne María Estuardo. Philip II believed that, once overthrown Isabel I, he might abdicate their rights over the Spanish infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia Maria. The plot was discovered and expelled Spanish Ambassador. Thus came the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
But without a formal declaration, from 1583 it can be considered open the conflagration between England and Spain. The political projects of Felipe II with respect to England were favored by María Estuardo execution in 1587, leaving the field open for a Spanish succession to the English throne when it succeeded the Spanish invasion of England, long-cherished by Felipe II project and was then resumed.
The devastating raid carried out by Drake on Cadiz and Lisbon in April 1587 ended up deciding to Felipe II to launch the invasion of England before completing the submission of the United provinces. In July 1588 he left Lisbon the great Navy, known as the Spanish Armada by the British historians, intended to invade England. Navy disaster, caused in part by the superiority of the British Navy, in part by the action of the flamingos that obstructed the access of the fleet to its shores, and in part by the elements, was a major political victory for Isabel I. The superiority of the British ships was a direct result of the naval policy driven by the Queen, considered to be one of the great achievements of his reign, as he inaugurated the British dominance of the seas.

The Spanish Armada
The victory over the great Armada made bolder to Isabel, who redoubled their actions against Spain where had the opportunity. In the following years, English Corsairs relentlessly harassed the Spanish ships making the voyage between Spain and the Indies. Drake attacked La Coruña in 1589 and reached Lisbon, although he could not take the city. They arreciaron attacks against ships and Spanish ports on the Peninsula and in America. Isabel gave shelter in his court to the prior of Crato, pretender to the throne of Portugal, which sealed a secret agreement against Spain.
The war with Spain continued after the death of Felipe II in 1598. The Spanish had supported the great Irish rebellion begun shortly before his death, support that kept the Duke of Lerma during the reign of Felipe III. However, the Spanish aid was ineffective, due to its slowness and the lack of equipment. In 1599, the Duke of Lerma English coasts sent a large fleet which had to return without having achieved none of its objectives. In spite of this rebellion, fiercely suppressed by the Isabeline army, continued until the death of Elizabeth, when he was the surrender of the last rebel.
The end of the reign
The last fifteen years of the Elizabethan era were difficult for the Queen; already very old, he had lost his most loyal counselors and friends. Dudley died in 1588; Walsingham, in 1590; Hatton in 1591; Burghley, in 1598. It was now surrounded by a group of men loyal to their personal interests than the old Queen. The most important of this new generation of Directors was Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and Dudley's stepson. The Queen had in high regard, which probably made the young count overestimate his political influence. His arrogance attracted him the enmity of Robert Cecil (son of Burghley), sir Walter Raleigh and the Duke of Nottingham.

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex
In 1598, broke out a new rebellion in Ireland that spread throughout the country. Devereux asked Queen the command of the army which would suppress the Irish rebellion, which was granted. But he disobeyed the strict orders of the Queen about how he should act in Ireland. Defeated, he decided to return to England, again contrary to the express orders of the Queen's stay on the island. Devereux was immediately arrested by order of the Privy Council, and although a research exculpó him of suspicions of treason on it, never was admitted to the regia privanza. This unexpected setback became Devereux principal intriguing realm, converted his house at coterie of disaffected Isabel. In 1601, Devereux tried awkwardly to take London with his troops. His attempt failed, it was executed as guilty of treason in February of that year. Following the execution of Devereux, the Queen told the French Ambassador: "when it is at stake the well-being of my Kingdom, I do not allow indulgence with my own inclinations".
The last years of the reign of Isabel I were also of economic crisis. The Regal Hacienda accused serious financial problems; its reserves were exhausted and the country was undergoing a deep crisis inflationary. The Queen had to resort to selling monopolies and royalties, as well as some of its most precious jewels. This practice caused great dissatisfaction and numerous complaints to Parliament has raised. Despite fears that caused her single status, the problem of succession had been resolved. James VI of Scotland was recognized for some time as his heir. On his deathbed, March 23, 1603, his advisors asked him to make a sign if he recognized as his successor to the future Jacobo I of England. The Queen did and, after his death on the morning of the following day at the London Palace of Richmond, English monarchy faced without rough the end of dynasty Tudor.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities

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