British History/Queen Elizabeth the first
Hello I'm doing a project on Queen Elizabeth I and I was wondering if you can answer the following questions:
1) In your opinion, what was Queen Elizabeth I's greatest achievement?
2) Why was Queen Elizabeth I so successful?
3) What do you think was Queen Elizabeth I's greatest obstacle?
Elizabeth I's greatest achievement was establishing a religious peace in England after the strife of the previous two reigns. She made it clear that Protestant Church of England was the established religion, but she did not persecute Catholic simply for their faith. Thus England avoided the devastating religious wars that scarred mainland Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
She was successful because she steered a middle path and avoided extremism, thus England as able to flourish both in culture and economically by largely avoiding expensive wars. She was personally popular with all classes of people and she kept this alive with a cult of personality by travelling about the country and being seen by as many people as possible. Her speeches made many references to her love of England and her subjects.
Her greatest obstacle was Spain. King Philip and the Pope saw her as a bastard usurper and actively plotted her overthrow. She was drawn into the Netherlands War of Independence against Spain in the 1570s and 80s which culminated in the Spanish Armada, but after its defeat the Spanish threat lessened. Nevertheless her foreign policy was always directed with one eye on Spain and how her decisions might affect England and her small in number but potentially dangerous Catholic subjects. Catholic revolts in the early to middle years of her reign showed how precarious her position could be if foreign powers became involved.
Ireland too was a difficulty as the population there was mainly Catholic and a revolt in he 1590s backed by Spain was a thorn in her side for the rest of her reign.