What Did Queen Elizabeth I Do?

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was the longest-ruling queen in English history. Her two biggest accomplishments were re-establishing the Church of England and ending the war with France that was underway when she took the throne. Her 44-year reign also saw several military victories.

Elizabeth led her people through a tumultuous time of political and religious upheaval. England was divided on religious issues when she came to the throne, and Elizabeth responded with a declaration that there was just one Jesus Christ, and that the rest of the matters concerning religious disputes at the time were trivial. She called for the passage of the Act of Uniformity, which allowed for the creation of a common prayer book and did much to heal the religious divisions between Catholics and Puritans at the time.

The 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada under Elizabeth’s rule is widely held as one of the greatest military achievements in English history. This defeat protected England from invasion by Spain and established England as a force to be reckoned with.

Elizabeth is sometimes referred to as the Virgin Queen, due to the fact that she never married or bore children. Although she had a long-time relationship with courtier Robert Dudley, Elizabeth presented the image of being married to her throne.