London during the Elizabethan era

Hey guys, I’m doing a few updates today on this blog…Yes, I’m a little bit behind schedule…

So here’s one about London during the Elizabethan era.


“I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and the stomach of a king, and of a king of England too!” (Queen Elizabeth I)

This era lasted 45 years: from 1558 to 1603. It’s associated to queen Elisabeth I ‘s reign and is often called : “England’s golden age”. Elisabeth has never been considered as legitimate in the eyes of Catholics and many protestants, even though she had received a very good education.

It was a true Renaissance for English literature, poetry and music. Some of the most famous examples are probably Shakespeare (who is sooo amazing, I could spend hours listening to “Hamlet” on my MP3!) and Spencer with the “Faerie Queene”. English verses were filled with a beauty and elegance we had not seen since Chaucer (The father of English literature and an outstanding poet). The cultural heritage left by this era was huge.

There were stark contrasts between the social casts:

– First, there was the queen, representing God on earth

– In second came the nobles and aristocrats

– Then the merchants

– And finally, there were the lower classes.

Religion in the sixteenth century was a quite sensitive case. For some time, persecutions between protestants and catholics weren’t as violent as in previous reigns (Tudors kings and queens weren’t exactly the “tender” type…). However, after the pope’s declaration (which claimed that the queen was a heretic) and several plots to take the queen’s throne, catholics have been severely punished and persecuted.

Some scientific and technological progress’ were also made in astronomy (with Thomas Digges and Thomas Harriot) and the navigation skills greatly improved thanks to Francis Drake and Martin Frobisher.

But…What did London look like during the Elizabethan era?

Well…It wasn’t exactly clean! The streets were narrow, dirty and slippery. The hygiene was literally depressing and an awful smell polluted the air. On the bright side London was a very commercial area! The famous London Bridge was also built back then. (okay, it was the old version but still!)

(picture credit: Mandiemanzano deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)

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