The period between 1550 and 1650 in Britain was dominated by Queen Elizabeth the Great, who ruled by herself over an ascendant empire. It was marked not only by a rising pride in the power of the British Isles but also by religious struggles between Catholic and Protestant factions, a struggle that resulted in a Protestant revolution in 1642. Additionally, Elizabeth's single status made political intrigues and plots commonplace.Know More
Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, despite his propensity for trading in wives, had left behind a strong, organized central government. This freed Elizabeth to focus on growing Britain's power, which she frequently did by playing one faction off against another, often using her unmarried status as leverage. In 1588, the Spanish attempted an invasion of England with the goal to destroy Britain's growing maritime power and reclaim the country for Catholicism. The Spanish were soundly defeated both by the British navy and by the unpredictable weather of the English Channel.
When Elizabeth died in 1603, she was succeeded by her nephew James I of Scotland. James cemented Protestantism in England, even funding the English translation of the Bible named after him. His son Charles I, however, found himself increasingly at odds with the Puritans, a religious and political faction that wanted a Protestantism cleansed of all ceremonial trappings. Unfortunately for him, Charles was a clumsy and unrefined politician; his autocratic indulgence in art and courtly trappings plunged England into debt, which the Puritans used as an excuse to push forward their own agenda. At last, Parliament itself revolted against him, leading to a civil war, Puritan rule over Britain and, ultimately, Charles' beheading in 1649.Learn more about Renaissance & Reformation
The Renaissance was a period in history that witnessed a cultural and intellectual revival in classical learning, particularly devoted to the study of Greek and Roman principles. The arts and literature flourished, major scientific discoveries came to light, and new territories were explored and conquered during this significant era.Full Answer >
Lasting from 1830 to 1865, the Romantic period features a variety of characteristics including sensibility, love of nature, sympathetic interest in the past, mysticism, romantic criticism and primitivism. Romanticism marked an artistic literary movement that was partly a revolt against social and political norms.Full Answer >
The Suez Canal was of strategic importance to Britain, both for international shipping (particularly to India) and for its rule in Egypt. When Egypt was granted nominal independence in 1922, the security of British interests in the Suez Canal were maintained by a permanent military garrison.Full Answer >
The years 1750 to 1900 ushered in great change in Britain, with the population increasing by over 260 percent and shifting away from rural villages and into cities, with corresponding improvements in transportation, industry and communication. Historian Arnold Toynbee argued in 1883 that during this time period, Britain underwent an Agricultural and Industrial Revolution, but more-recent scholars have insisted that these changes were more gradual than what Toynbee suggested.Full Answer >