November 17, 1558
“Bloody Mary,” daughter of Henry VIII, reigned five years, during which time her government sentenced Lady Jane Grey—the Nine Day Queen—and 300 others to their deaths.
She burned at the stake the Oxford Martyrs: Bishop Hugh Latimer, who had been Edward VI’s chaplain; Rev. Nicholas Ridley, who had been the Bishop of London; and Thomas Crammer, the former Archbishop of the Anglican Church.
About to be executed, October 16, 1555, Bishop Hugh Latimer exhorted Nicholas Ridley:
Play the man, Master Ridley. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.
When Mary died, NOVEMBER 17, 1558, her half-sister Elizabeth became Queen.
Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
She replied at her Coronation in 1558, when questioned as to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament:
Christ was the Word that spake it,
He took the bread and brake it,
And what that Word did make it,
I do believe and take it.
There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith. All else is a dispute over trifles.
Elizabeth continued the Church of England begun when her father, Henry VIII, separated from Rome.
“Puritans” wanted to purify the Anglican Church, insisting it be separated even further from Rome.
Another group gave up trying to purify the Anglican Church and decided to separate themselves—being called “Separatists” or “Pilgrims.”
They eventually fled to Holland, and then later to America.
During the 45-year reign of Queen Elizabeth I, monumental achievements occurred.
Shakespeare wrote 38 plays impacting world literature.
Francis Bacon began the scientific revolution. In his treatise titled, Of Atheism, Sir Francis Bacon declared:
A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.
In 1577, Sir Francis Drake began the second voyage in history to circumnavigate the globe, almost 60 years after Ferdinand Magellan’s first voyage.
In 1579, Oxford educated priest Thomas Stephens became one of the first western Christian missionaries, and probably the first Englishman, to reach India, converting many of the upper Indian society by writing Kristpurana—Story of Christ.
In 1600, English navigator William Adams, sailing for the Dutch East India Company, arrived in Japan.
In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh began a colony he named Virginia, in honor of the “Virgin Queen Elizabeth.”
Virginia’s Charter, 1584, stated:
Elizabeth, by the Grace of God of England … Defender of the Faith …
grant to our trusty and well beloved servant Walter Raleigh … to discover … barbarous lands … not actually possessed of any Christian Prince, nor inhabited by Christian People …
Virginia’s Charter continued:
Upon … finding … such remote lands … it shall be necessary for the safety of all men … to live together in Christian peace …
Ordinances … agreeable to … the laws … of England, and also so as they be not against the true Christian faith.
In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh established a settlement at Roanoke Island, in present-day North Carolina, but it had to be ignored for three years due to Spain’s impending invasion of England. The colony was mysteriously abandoned, being referred to as “The Lost Colony.”
Spain had defeated the Ottoman Muslim fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, but rather than free the rest of the Mediterranean from Muslim control, Spain turned its attention to squelching the Reformation in Holland and England.
Beginning in 1572, Spanish General Alba, known as the Iron Duke, committed the “Spanish Furies,” pillaging, burning, raping, and slaughtering in Holland. This led to the 80 years war and eventually Holland’s independence.
In 1588, the Invincible Spanish Armada sailed to invade England.
The Armada consisted of 130 ships, 1,000 iron guns, 1,500 brass guns, 7,000 sailors, 18,000 soldiers, plus 30,000 soldiers from the Spanish Netherlands.
Queen Elizabeth told her troops, August 19, 1588:
England’s smaller, more maneuverable vessels proved difficult for the Spanish to apprehend.
Let tyrants fear …
I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman;
but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that … Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm …
I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general …
Your valour … shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.
Then, at midnight, July 28, 1588, Sir Francis Drake set eight English ships on fire and floated them downwind to the closely anchored Spanish ships.
In a panic, the Spanish ships cut anchor. An unusual violent hurricane scattered and destroyed most of the Spanish Armada.
When King Philip II of Spain learned of the loss, he exclaimed:
I sent the Armada against men, not God’s winds and waves.
If Spain would have won, there would not only have been no Anglican England, there would have been no Puritans, no Pilgrims, no New England, and no United States.
America would have just been an extension of New Spain – Mexico.
With its Armada destroyed, Spain’s monopoly of the seas ended. England was established as a major European power, and Holland, Sweden, and France joined in founding colonies in America.
Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations, 1776:
The Spaniards, by virtue of the first discovery, claimed all America as their own, and … such was … the terror of their name, that the greater part of the other nations of Europe were afraid to establish themselves in any other part of that great continent …
But … the defeat … of their Invincible Armada … put it out of their power to obstruct any longer the settlements of the other European nations.
In the course of the 17th century … English, French, Dutch, Danes, and Swedes … attempted to make some settlements in the new world.
Queen Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch, stated in 1566:
I am your Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.
Elizabeth told William Lambarde in 1601:
He that will forget God, will also forget his benefactors.
Queen Elizabeth told the House of Commons in The Golden Speech, November 30, 1601:
In France, the tolerant “Good King” Henry IV had at least a dozen assassination attempts on his life before he was eventually assassinated in 1610.
Though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves …
I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people …
The title of a King is a glorious title, but … we well know … that we also are to yield an account of our actions before the Great Judge.
When rumors arose in England of a possible plot to assassinate her, Elizabeth executed dozens, including, sadly, her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, who was under her protection.
Mary Queen of Scots was the mother of James VI, who became England’s next monarch, King James I, noted among other things for the Jamestown Colony and the King James Bible.
Responding to questions from Parliament regarding succession after her death, Elizabeth stated:
I know I am but mortal and so there whilst prepare myself for death, whensoever it shall please God to send it.
Elizabeth died March 24, 1603.
Of her epitaph, Queen Elizabeth I said:
I am no lover of pompous title, but only desire that my name may be recorded in a line or two, which shall express my name, my virginity, the years of my reign, and the reformation of religion under it.