By Emily, Ashley, Mikey, and Cory


Many events happened concerning politics in the Renaissance Era. Some major components were the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth I, Captain John Smith, and Robert Devereux. Here is a brief summary of how each of these events/people influenced this period of time.
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Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada was a big event in history that had many people talking and had

much meaning. The Spanish Armada was a ship that sailed from Spain to accomplish

one task ( “The Spanish Armada”). The task of the Spanish Armada was to disappoint alot of people and to overthrow the power of Queen Elizabeth I. The person who’s idea this was, was Dukefrom Medina-Sedonia. This expedition included a number of things, 130 ships, that had 2,500 guns, 8,000 seamen, and approximately 20,000 soldiers. The ships from Spain did not arrive at there destination until July 19th, because they had to back track to Spain a few times because of weather conditions not being so good the whole time ( “ The Spanish Armada”). This dispute between the English and the people of Spain went back and forth for many days not really resolving anything. English began first shooting their guns that shot long distances, and could reach the ships that had come from Spain ( “ Spanish Armada”). The armada took force back with anchors and then the English had eight burning ships they sent in to the Armada ( “ The Spanish Armada Defeated”) The English pretty much won this battle getting the Spanish Armada all the way to Scotland, shortly after that they had to return to there mainland because they had no more weapons and supplies to use to go any further. When they got more supplies and went back to Spain, the English finally reached Spain in like mid- October but by that point it was kind of pointless because more of their men were dead, or dying. The defeat of Queen Elizabeth I made everyone happy, and not make people underestimate the power of the Armada. The Spanish Armada influenced Politics in a number of ways, but the most evident way is that it did alot for the American Continent, it made things more explorable and evident ( “ Spanish Armada Defeated”).

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Horrible Histories The Spanish Armada

Queen Elizabeth I

During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the major political issues faced were religion, succession and international affairs. Queen Elizabeth I was known to handle these situations differently compared to former leaders. On the other hand, she demonstrated the same formal assemblies and continued similar royal conventions ( Doran). Although she was one of the first female leaders, Queen Elizabeth I was never known as a feminist icon. However, she did show her people that a woman could be a successful ruler even in the most traumatic situations ( Weir, Alison).

In 1961, Queen Elizabeth I delivered one of the most famous speeches of her reign. This speech is known as “The Golden Speech.” The parliament accused her of not keeping her promised to them and the people. During this speech, she spoke about, with ease, how she handled certain situations at hand. Many were pleased with her reasoning. The Golden Speech made Queen Elizabeth I a highly favored political leader ("“The Golden Speech” of Elizabeth I").

However, Queen Elizabeth was not always favored during her political reign. Many seemed to disagree with her support of literature and stage performances. During this time, actors were not thought of very positively. In fact, many of the theaters were placed in poor and crime-filled environments. Those who participated in these acts were looked down upon and were discouraged. On the other hand, these performances had large audiences which Queen Elizabeth enjoyed. She enjoyed how everyone could afford and come together in union( Weir, Alison).

Queen Elizabeth I achieved many things while in power. She supported several voyages of discovery to the Americas, such as Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and Humphrey Gilbert. This exposed England to better settlement and trade growth. Fine arts also prospered during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. She herself witnessed Shakespeare’s first show of “A Midsummer night’s dream.” The Queen was known as a supporter of literature and performance( Doran).

Queen Elizabeth I Biography

Robert Devereux

Explore the Elizabethan world. Imagine daily life in the mid 1500’s though the early 1600’s, with its attitudes, occupations, religious beliefs, pastimes and politics. Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, and her forty-five year reign “…was a glorious period in English history, a time of great prosperity, artistic achievement, and internation prestige” (Applebee 288). In addition, it was a time when a monarchy dominated, when Elizabethan politics were harsh, and when conflicts were many. Before long, the second Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, an English nobleman, soldier and cousin of the queen, a favorite of Elizabeth, and thus entered the political scene (Wagner). The political and romantic relationship between the Earl of Essex and Queen Elizabeth I was often turbulent, as Essex often challenged and defined her authority.

Although background knowledge of Devereux’s early life is limited, he was raised Protestant with French influence, and studied at Trinity College and at Cambridge. Essex, as he was known, was quite young when his father, the first Earl of Essex died, and he became the responsibility of the crown (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). Queen Elizabeth knew of Leicester, and, in spite of the age difference, Essex replaced her lover after his [Leicester’s] death (“Elizabeth I and her Relationship with Robert Devereux”). People gossiped about the age difference, yet few would question the Queen of England.

Although Devereux was distinguished in battle, he was also charming and brave, he was also politically ambitious and defiant to the Queen’s desires. He was knighted and made privy councilor, but had a mind of his own. Wagner writes, “In 1589, Essex slipped away from court without permission to join the Portugal expedition. This escapade brought down the queen’s wrath on Sir Francis Drake and other leaders of the expedition, but Essex himself was forgiven when he returned to court (Wagner), but lost favor again when unsuccessful in the Island Voyage. However, when Essex publically challenged the Queen’s rule, “The Queen’s men set upon him, declaring him a traitor. Essex surrendered” (“Elizabeth I and her Relationship with Robert Devereux”). Consequently, the Queen had Essex beheaded. Although Robert Devereux had been Elizabeth’s lover, her political reputation, her intellectual power, and authoritative reign superseded her emotions toward the ambitious Earl of Essex.

Robert Devereux 2nd Earl of Essex

Captain John Smith

John Smith was born in 1580 but left his home in England at the age of sixteen after his father had passed away. He went to many different places and one of these places was Transylvania. Here, he was injured in combat and sold as a slave to a Turk. Smith managed to escape and return back to England ( “Jamestown Rediscovery”). He got involved with the Virginia Company to colonize Virginia for profit. Eventually he made his way to America and he was one of seven men to govern the colony (“Jamestown Rediscovery”).Settlers had the duty of surviving in a fresh environment on May 13, 1607. Harsh winters made life very difficult in Jamestown. The constant attacks of the Indians were not much help either. John smith became the head of the colonists and fought off the Indians to the best of his ability. Smith was ambushed by the Indians and brought back to their leader Powhatan but he did not decide to kill him because he was impressed by smith’s self-confidence. John smith was made subordinate chief of their tribe. Smith was convinced that Powhatans daughter, Pocahontas had saved his life. He was released and went back to Jamestown where dissent had occurred. Due to a bad government smith was elected president of the council and the settlement survived (“ Jamestown Rediscovery”) He returned to London after suffering from a gunpowder wound and never came back to Virginia. He came back to the new world on a voyage to Maine and Massachusetts and named the region New England. After this, he was denied additional opportunities to revisit America due to his independent nature. Smith died at the age of 51 in 1631 (“Jamestown Rediscovery”).