William Shakespeare was born and died on April
23 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He was born
in 1564 and died in 1616.
Struggles in England
Henry VIII was the King of England from 1509 to
1547. During this time, England was experiencing
England had been a Catholic
nation and followed the Catholic Church in Rome.
Henry wanted a divorce from his first wife, Catherine
of Aragon. However, divorces were not allowed
by the Catholic Church. Therefore, Henry broke
ties with the Church.
In 1533, Henry established
the Church of England and declared himself the
Supreme Head of the Church. It was a Protestant
Church. The people of England were forced to join
the Church of England and swear their loyalty
to Henry VIII. This was difficult for many people
because they had been Catholics all their life.
Elizabeth I Brings Stability to England
In 1547, Henry VIII died. His son, Edward VI became
King for a short time. Edward VI did not have
any children. When Edward died, his half-sister,
Mary, became Queen.
Queen Mary I was Catholic.
During her reign, there was fighting between Catholics
and Protestants. Many Protestants were burned
at the stake for their beliefs, and Mary was called
"Bloody" Mary for her actions. In 1558, Mary died
and did not leave any children.
The throne was passed to
her half-sister, Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth I was Protestant.
The religious turmoil continued in England, but
it was not as severe as it had been in recent
years. Elizabeth was more tolerant than her sister
Elizabeth's reign is known
as the Elizabethan Era. She ruled from 1558 to
1603 and gave England peace and stability. England's
navy became very powerful. In 1588, it defeated
the Spanish Armada which boosted the national
pride of England.
Elizabeth supported exploration.
During this time, Sir Francis Drake was the first
Englishman to sail around the world, and Sir Walter
Raleigh founded the Virginian colony in the New
Literature also prospered
under Elizabeth's reign. She enjoyed the theater
and gave protection to its actors. One of these
actors was William Shakespeare. His acting company,
the Lord Chamberlain's Men, was invited to perform
for Queen Elizabeth more than any other acting
I of England
When Elizabeth died in 1603, she did not have
any children. The line of succession went back
to Henry VII. The next heir to the English thrown
was Henry VII's great-great grandson, James VI
of Scotland. James VI of Scotland also became
James I of England.