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The start of the modern era (Britain in the XVI century)

She had a tal­ent for governing. She chose very good advisers. For example, among her confidants were the philosopher Francis Bacon; the researcher of the seas, the poet and historian Walter Raleigh. He founded the first English colony in America. It didn’t survived, but it was the first. Raleigh brought potatoes and tobacco back to Britain, although both of these were already known from the Spanish. But it was Raleigh who made smoking popular at court. Raleigh was known for his courteous manners at the court. Once while the queen came up to the puddle he spread his luxurious cloak on it in order the queen could pass. She put attention on him and he was her favourite for a while. It didn’t save Raleigh of the fate being executed[1]

Elisabeth was a great beauty in her youth. She had hazel eyes, auburn hair and extremely white skin. Her courtiers expected her to marry and provide an heir to the throne. But Elizabeth never mar­ried. Her marriage could not be a matter of love, but only of politics. She could not choose anyone from the English nobles, because at that time wife had to obey her husband. Elizabeth was asked to marry by Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible, Spanish king Phillip II and the French prince Francois Anzhujsky. All three were rejected; she didn’t wish anybody to divide her power over the country. Her commented:"I should call the wedding-ring the yoke-ring!" She was called "Virgin Queen" during her life and in history. It is said that Elizabeth's great love was Lord Dudley, one of her courtiers They say, that dying she whispered his name.

 

She could choose talented confidants, among them were philosopher Francis Bacon, seafarer and poet Walter Raleigh, who founded the first English colony in America and brought potatoes and tobacco back to Britain. He made smoking popular at court. Elizabeth was asked to marry by Russian, Spanish and French monarchs. They were rejected.

 

Elizabeth tried to assign the big part of charges for palace magnificence on her courtiers. She often left her palace with all court and visited any noble. She spent many weeks there, the master was usually ruined after such visits. Many nobles relected the honour of her stay. There are a lot of places today with inscriprions: "Queen Elizabeth slept here". She slept just about everywhere.

The main enemy of England was the Spanish king Phillip II. In due time he was married to Mary the Bloody. After Mary's death Elizabeth refused to marry him. Phillip lost any right to the British throne, but did not lost the hope to subdue England. He wished to set disorder inside England and he supported another Mary who applied for the English throne. She was the Scottish queen Mary Stuart.

Mary ventured to come to England and soon she became the captive of Elizabeth, but also in a captivity she remained the center of plots. Elizabeth couldn’t decide to execute Mary. They were commoners or noblemen, who could have been executed, but not with kings! Blood of kings was considered to be sacred. There was not an example in European history.

But at last in spite of all these circumstances Mary was sentenced to death and beheaded. Elizabeth dressed mourning on Maria Stuart and tried to show that she was very much upset, but it was necessary for her state. It was a challenge to catholic Europe. Phillip II proclaimed himself the applicant for the English throne and started to prepare for invasion into England.

 

Spanish king Phillip II supported the Scottish queen Mary Stuart in her claims for the British throne. She became Elisabeth’s captive and was executed. Phillip prepared for invasion into England.

 

Really the war with Spain proceeded for a long time. English pirates plundered ships sailing from the New Light to Spain. Spain owned ¾ of European gold then, taking it from America.

The English pirates were called "sea dogs", they were traders and sea explores as well. The most famous of them were John Hawkins, Martin Furbisher and Francis Drake. They used to attack Spanish ships as they returned from America with gold and silver. Elizabeth apologized to Philip, the King of Spain, but at the same time did not refuse from her share of the loot.

Elizabeth herself patronized pirates. Queen had the interest in business of sea robbers: together with confidants she put money in piracy expeditions and got fantastic profits. It is natural, that Elizabeth did not pursue pirates who supplied for the royal treasury. Vice versa they became her nobles and as for Drake he was appointed vice-admiral of fleet.

  1. is considered to be the first figure in the British piracy, military history and geographical discoveries of the XVI century. He was a son of the ship priest. So since 4 the ship became his house. He had participated and commanded pirate expeditions since his youth.

Usually English pirates robbed the Spanish ships in the Atlantic. But Drake decided once to appear at the coast of America and rob gold and silver just in the places they had been extracted and stored. He reckoned so. The American coast was the undoubted ownership of the Spaniards. They couldn’t imagine anyone else to appear at their coast. So the Spanish cities weren’t forced well. One could rob and escape, rob and escape and in such way round the continent. And he did it. Floating along coast, Drake grasped the Spanish vessels with gold and jewelry. In the same way he "released" the Spanish cities on the American coast from the treasures. Drake's robbery was helped that the Spaniards could not suppose any not Spanish ship to occur at the western coast of America.

On robbing, Drake investigated the southern extremity of the continent and has opened the cape Horn. He doubled the “The fire land” and sailed northwards. Drake was the second seafarer[2] in the world and the first Englishman who has bypassed around of light.

From this navigation Francis Drake brought the huge riches which size is unknown to anybody. It is supposed only, that the total sum made 2 annual incomes of the English state. The Lion's share of the loot was got by the queen. Drake's partners received 4700% on the enclosed money. As for the Queen, due to this money, she could pay a public debt of England completely. «The royal pirat» became the knight and a member of parliament.

There is a legend that the origin of military salute is connected with Drake. The legend says that once the English queen had ascended to a deck of the Drake’s ship. She intended to initiate him as a knight. At her approach Francis Drake covered his face with a hand to show that the light of the queen blinded[3] him. It is told, that since then soldiers salute, putting a hand to a head.

 

Spanish ships on the way from America were plundered by English pirates supported by the queen. Drake robbed the Spanish coast of America and was the first Englishman and the second world seafarer, bypassed around the globe. The legend connects the gesture of the salute with Drake’s attempt to show being blinded with the queen’s light.

 

Phillip II was full of it and in 1588 has equipped huge fleet against England - «The Invincible Armada». His aim was to put an end to piracy attacks and to seize England if possible. The ships were the strongest in that time. They were called “floating fortresses».

Elizabeth knew that her country was not ready for the serious war. The royal fleet consisted of 34 ships only, “Armada” consisted of about 150 ships. The land army was practically absent. But it was a real threat for the country’s independence. Elizabeth who was 55 rode on horseback round the country and used to repeat: « I come to you, ready to live in fight or to die with you ».

Merchants and noblemen have equipped and have sent the ships. Now they were 90 in the English navy. The most glorified pirates have accepted command on fleet. The townspeople organized groups of emergency volunteers, ready to fight if the Spanish land.

But landing of the Spaniards did not take place. On July, 28th, 1588 «The Invincible Armada» entered the English Channel. The English Navy was commandeered by admiral Howard of Effingham, Drake was a vice-admiral. They tried to use their lighter, more maneuverable vessels as an advantage against the larger, heavier Spanish. They sent fire-ships into the midst of the Armada to spread panic. The leader of the attack was Drake’s pirate ship “Revenge». The series of battles proceeded for almost a month. They started at Plymouth and ended at Gravelines on the modern French coast, which was a part of Spain then.

The English succeeded. A heavy storm came up and scattered the Spanish vessels. The Spanish Armada had to go around Scotland and home to Spain[4]. The Englishmen in this battle have not lost any ship, not more than 50 courts returned to Spain. Invasion into England did not take place.

The most famous anecdote about Drake's life tells that, before the battle, he was playing a game of bowls at Plymouth. On being warned of the approach of the Spanish fleet, Drake remarked that there was plenty of time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards. There is no written evidence of this incident from the people who heard the words themselves, who were the wittnesses. The earliest retelling of it was printed 37 years later. In this place winds and currents made any ship approach slowly. There was really plenty of time before sending English fleet. That might have caused the legend.

Since that event England had got the position of the great sea power. Soon it would get the name «the ruler of seas ».

 

  1. II sent «The Invincible Armada» to seize England. The lighter English fleet prevented it. Soon England was called “the ruler of the seas”.

 

The victory brought a huge glory to Elizabeth. She was spoken as a rescuer of the country. Londoners called her «kind queen Lizzy».

Elizabeth patronized trade, and English merchants after a victory over the Spaniards could go to Turkey, Africa, Russia, America without any fear. Queen and her court invested in trading ventures and got their income. It was at Elizabeth’s period that the most powerful trading companies, for example East Indian were founded. Their merchants began the creation of the British colonial empire.

It should be told that “kind Lizzy” was often greedy[5] and ungrateful. The seamen, the winners of "The Invincible Armada» were dismissed from the ships, and nothing was paid for them. The invalids had to become beggars.

The end of the Elizabeth’s reign was difficult. Queen spoke about herself: «I have a body of the feeble and sick woman, but I have a heart of a king and besides – the king of England».

But she felt tired and lonely. The parliament became discontent, that the queen patronized some merchants or the companies and didn’t patronize another.

Her teeth became black because of the great use of sugar. She wore false hair, and that red. She contracted smallpox in 1562 which left her face scarred. She took to wearing white lead makeup to cover the scars, so her face resembled a mask. In the last few years of her life, she refused to have a mirror in any of her rooms.

Elizabeth became reticent[6] and suspicious. She was panically afraid of plots and murders and constantly wore the small sword. It was rumored that queen has gone mad.

Elizabeth I died in 1603, having lived 70 years. It is told that with her the dynasty of Tudors has stopped, but the Great Britain has begun as the ruler of the seas and the mistress of almost half of the world.

The most famous contemporary of queen Elisabeth was Shakespeare. The XVI century in England was the period of Renaissance, and Shakespeare was the greatest author of the epoch.

His plays are performed all over the world more often than those of any other playwright. Being the most known English poet he is the most enigmatic at the same time. The reason is that few records of Shakespeare's private life have survived. And the discussion arose whether the works attributed to him were written by him or by the other author or by the group of the authers. It got the name of «The Shakespeare authorship question»

According to the classical version William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23 1564. His father was a glover and wool merchant. William was educated in Stratford's grammar school, married the daughter of a farmer and had three children including twins. One of them was called Hamnet close to the character of Shakespeare’s best-known play. The boy died at the age of 11.

The 7 years after marriage are called “lost years”. Nothing is known about Shakespeare at that period. Then the man with the name of Shakespeare appears in London. He is an actor of the Globe theatre, and at the same time a businessman, a shareholder of the theater, he gives money for performances and owns the part of the income. He writes plays – about two a year. In the age of 48 he returns to Stratford. Five years later in 1616 he died on April 23, in his birthday.

Shakespeare was the greatest poet of the Renaissance. The similar story was with the greatest painter of the Renaissance Raphael, who was born and died in the same day.

Thus the lack of documents and some surprising aspects of Shakespeare’s works caused the hesitation that the famous plays and poems had been written by the glover’s son of Stratford. The reasons for doubt are the next

1 - Shakespeare's vocabulary includes about 20000 words. For comparison: the most educated and gifted authors of his period Bacon and Milton used about 8000, the most prominent authors of the XIX century Dickens and Thackeray used about 9000. By the word, Shakespeare coined 3200 words in English.

2 – His works show an excellent knowledge of politics, law, medicine, astronomy and court manners. It seams strange for person who was never educated in University.

3 – His works show the knowledge of foreign languages. There are many quotations from the books which weren’t translated into English then. To read them Shakespeare had to know Latin, Greek, French and Italian.

4 - The latest known document of his life is his will. The surprising aspect of it, that there is not a single word about his plays, 20 of which hadn’t been published by his death.

5 – Even his name seemed strange to somebody. “Shake spear” is translated as “потряси копьём”. It’s more like a pseudonym than a name.

Many candidates have been proposed for the role of Shakespeare. Among them Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, queen Elisabeth. Different hypothesis were proposed that not one but several people wrote by the name of Shakespeare.

Those who dout whether William Shakespeare of Stratford was the author of Shakespeare's plays are called anti-Stratfordians, while those who promise that Shakespeare was Shakespeare are called Stratfordians.

The Stratfordians say that there is no use doubting about Shakespeare’s personality. They say that he was simply a genius. That’s why he didn’t need studying in university to use a vast vocabulary and know languages.

As for his will they say, that he wrote his plays for earning when he was an actor and a theatre businessman. When he had left the theatre, his plays didn’t bring him any profit more. Besides, nobody told him that he was a genius, that’s why he didn’t see any sense in publishing his plays.

 
Категория: Лекции по истории Англии | Добавил: Senebty (10.02.2018)
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