Queen Elizabeth I: Queen of the Sea Queen Elizabeth I created the foundation for England's success in sea power and trade. She created the illusion of strength by concealing her emotions and making deliberate choices on her behalf. One such alternative was not marrying. Although living a single life was frowned upon, especially among royalty, it was a potent factor in her reign. Because she did not have to worry about a husband or family, Elizabeth was free to focus on her country and its people. Queen Elizabeth and England thrived during the Age of Exploration seizing new opportunities, gaining knowledge and seeking power in the New World.
During this period, England successfully fought against Spain's attempt to spread Catholicism throughout Britain and overthrow its queen during the Spanish Armada. Queen Elizabeth promoted exploration in the New World. She aided the explorers with funds and support. She encouraged them to challenge Spain and Portugal on trade and conquest. She sponsored Sir Francis Drake in his three-year voyage in which he circumnavigated the globe. Drake raided Spanish ports, stole great amounts of treasure and returned to England a national hero.
Her admiration of Sir Walter Raleigh came as a result of his success in exploration. Raleigh honored his queen by naming the colony Virginia after Queen Elizabeth I, "The Virgin Queen." Drake, Raleigh and all of the men who explored the New World during the Age of Exploration were known as "sea dogs." The experiences gained by the British during the Age of Exploration prepared them for their next challenge. The execution of Mary Queen of Scots led to Philip of Spain's rule. Philip had a few reasons to dislike Queen Elizabeth I. Firstly, she refused to marry him after a wedding was arranged for the two. Secondly, Queen Elizabeth I aided the Netherlands with militia and funds against Spain.
Philip was convinced that English Catholics would welcome his rule and was determined to convert the British and overrule Elizabeth. The queen knew Philip would soon attack. The English prepared by raiding Spanish fleets. Sir Francis Drake raided Cadiz and in doing so, he destroyed supplies and stole booty from the Spanish galleons. On July 21, 1588, one hundred and thirty Spanish ships entered the English Channel against thirty-four English ships, many of which were fireboats. The commander of the English fleet did the unthinkable by using unmanned fireboats, loaded with explosives, to defeat the Spanish.
England's victory over Spain had two important results. It guaranteed that England could remain independent and Protestant: two major factors for England. England proved that it could defend itself, and Queen Elizabeth I worked tirelessly to keep its defense strong. Before the Spanish Armada, England was not as powerful as Spain. Because of Queen Elizabeth's will, determination and her ability to keep the people of England motivated, she established her position in the history of England's rule and more importantly England's position as a major player in European politics. If it were not for Queen Elizabeth I's cunning defeat of the Spanish, England may not have become a major partner in world-class sea and land trade.
Queen Elizabeth I's reign was focused and beneficial for England. She assisted and established the groundwork of England's accomplishments. Queen Elizabeth's endeavors were invaluable to the people of England who looked to her as a mother. After her death, the entire country went into mourning. The time of her rule is known as the "Age of Elizabeth.".