Elizabeth Tudor was queen of England for 45 years, and her reign is referred to as the Elizabethan era or the Golden Age of England. When she first ascended to the throne, Elizabeth inherited a bankrupt nation, torn by religious strife and threatened by the military power of France and Spain. By her death on March 24, 1603, England had become a major world power in every respect.
Elizabeth ruled during one of the more constructive periods in English history. Literature flourished through the works of Shakespeare. Sir Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh were expanding English influence in the New World. Her reign coincided with the zenith of the English Renaissance.
Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She was crowned Queen of England at the age of 25 on Jan. 15, 1559. She was only the third queen to rule England alone. She never married, ruling alone for her entire reign and becoming known as the "Virgin Queen" despite having many suitors throughout her time on the English throne. Several foreign princes also vied for her hand, and she successfully used their courtships to develop a friendly relationship with their countries without accepting the proposal of any.