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Queen Elizabeth I

"I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too."
-Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was born in England on September 7, 1533, the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. When she was just three years old, her mother was beheaded because of her father's accusation that Anne Boleyn committed adultery and treason. Because of this, Elizabeth was pronounced as illegitimate and put last in order of the throne. Her half-sister, Mary, was first in line (from her father's first marriage) until her half-brother, Edward, was born in 1537. Although Elizabeth was then third in line for the throne, her father treated her very affectionately. Her father's sixth wife, Catherine Parr, educated Elizabeth in rhetoric, history, theology (being Protestant), moral philosophy, and the languages of Greek, Latin, French, English, and Italian.

In 1547, Elizabeth's father died, and Edward became the king. Catherine Parr remarried to a man named Thomas Seymour. However, in 1549, Catherine died and Seymour was beheaded for being accused of wanting to marry Elizabeth to gain the throne of England. At this time, Elizabeth's life was in danger, but she didn't let it get to her.

In 1553, Edward died, and Mary assumed the throne. Mary (sometimes coined Bloody Mary), who was Catholic, unlike Elizabeth, began to massacre Protestants in order to bring Catholicism back to England. Again, Elizabeth's life was in danger, this time because she was Protestant, and at one point, she was locked in the Tower of London and almost beheaded.

On November 17, 1558, "Good Queen Bess" (Elizabeth) took the throne after Mary died. Queen Elizabeth had many suitors, but she married none of them. In 1559, she passed the Act of Supremacy that declared her as the head of the church, settling the religious question between the Catholics and the Protestants. She also began to portray herself as the "Virgin Queen." Elizabeth did many wonderful things for England during her rule. She extended England overseas with John Cabot, William Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake, reduced her council's size, removed the debased currency in the monitary system, passed a law that all able-bodied men should work the land, and created treaties with Scotland and France in order to end hostilities

Elizabeth died in England on March 24, 1603. Later, the last part of the 16th century was called the Elizabethan Age, a time when literature and art flourished with William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, and Edmund Spencer, among others.

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