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Queen Elizabeth I

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Queen Elizabeth was born in Greenwich Palace on September 7, 1533.

She died on March 24, 1603, of natural causes. Her father was Henry VII.

His second wife, Anne Boleyn was Elizabeth's mother. King Henry wanted a son, but received a daughter, instead, from his second wife. Before

Elizabeth's third birthday, Henry had her mother beheaded in charges of

adultery and treason.

Elizabeth was brought up in a separate household at Hatfield (not

known). King Henry's third wife gave birth to a son. This boy was named Edward. Edward was declared first in line for King Henry's throne, while

Mary (Daughter of Henry's first wife) was declared second, and Elizabeth

was declared third and last in line for the throne.

Elizabeth received a thorough education that was normally reserved for men. She was taught by special tutors of whom, the most known, was a Cambridge humanist by the name of Roger Ascham. Roger Ascham wrote about Elizabeth, "Her mind has no womanly weakness. Her perseverance is equal tothat of a man and her memory long keeps what it quickly picks up. With the help of these tutors, she was not only fluent in two languages, but in four

languages. She was fluent in the languages of Greek, Latin, French, and

Italian.

When Henry died in 1547, her brother, Edward, took over the throne at

ten years of age. Edward, with a short reign on the throne, died in 1553,

and Elizabeth's half, older sister, Mary took the throne. Mary, like

Edward, died on November 17, 1558, after a short time on the throne.In

October 1562, Queen Elizabeth almost died of small pox.

In 1584, Europe's other major protestant leader, William of Orange,

was assassinated. For the first time in her life, Elizabeth showed some

concern. She was now, the only major protestant leader in Europe. At this

time, Elizabeth's Privy council drew up a Bond of Association which pledged

that its signers, in an attempt on Elizabeth's life, would kill the

assassins along with the claimant to the throne who the attempt was made

for.

In the mid 1580s, it was clear that a direct military confrontation

between England and Spain was unavoidable in the near future.

Word reached London that the Spanish king, Philip II, had started to

assemble together an enormous fleet that would sail to the Netherlands, and

join forces with a waiting Spanish army led by the duke of Parma. After

joining forces, this fleet would proceed to invade and probably conquer the

now protestant England.

The always conservative queen reluctantly had authorized sufficient

funds to maintain a fleet of maneuverable, well-armed fighting ships, to

which other ships from the merchant fleet would be added.

In July 1588, the "Invincible Armada" reached the English water and

the queen's ships. In one of the most famous naval encounters of history,

the queen's ships defeated the enemy fleet, which then in an attempt to

return to Spain, was all but destroyed by terrible storms.

At the time when the Spanish invasion was expected, Queen Elizabeth

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