The Elizabethan Era An Age of Advancement

The Elizabethan Era was an era between the 1500-1600 AD that was an age of advancement that brought about advancement in many parts of humanity's culture. Examples of this would be advancements in exploration, sciences, and literature. However, one could question whether the Elizabethan Age can be called an age of advancement or not. Let us look into more detail upon the advancements of this era, starting with exploration.

Sir Francis Drake (1542-1596)

As said earlier, the Elizabethan Era brought about many changes in advancements in exploration. A passage from the article "The Elizabethan Age" perfectly explains the events of this, "Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and other English adventurers explored the Caribbean region and the coasts of North and South America." (Jake Bumgardner). These people, along with other explorers, spearheaded a new journey for Europe with the ultimate goal of colonizing the Americas. This would obviously fail, as the United States of America would take over America and fight against England in the name of freedom. Taking a stop, however, at the colonization of America, one can see the historical significance of the colonization of America. This excerpt from the article "Elizabeth I" helps to create this scope and significance by simply saying "Already Sir Walter Raleigh had sent settlers to America, opening the way for a great colonial empire." (Garry G. Gibbs). This event is incredibly crucial as it opened up new land for an already large empire, making it even bigger. It also paved the way for new countries and nations to rise up and become independent civilizations with more than enough people and resources, (hint hint).


With advancements in long distance travel came advancements in trading. As stated from a piece in an article called "Elizabethan Age", "Merchants formed a great trading company, the East India Company, in 1600." (Jake Bumgardner). This company dominated an entire nation, and mainly traded with India and Qing China. Not only that, but the East India company gradually colonized and changed India to fit under formal British Rule.

John Gerard, Botanist and Herbalist

Advancements in science were a tad bit spread out during this century, as it ranged from ship instrumental advancements to herbs. John Gerard, a Botanist, Herbalist, and Barber, created one of the first encyclopedias about herbs. This is also stated in the book "What Life Was like in the Realm of Elizabeth: England" AD, 1533-1603. It says that "In 1597 a barber-surgeon by the name of John Gerard published a meticulously illustrated encyclopedia of native and foreign plants, listing their medicinal properties." (Editors of Time-Life Books) John Gerard's book helped push people to learn more about the world around them and find out how to use it to their advantage. This encyclopedia was given 1700 additional herbs only a decade after it was published, hinting that it did push people to discover more. Moving on to the ship part, I'll let this excerpt from "What Life Was like in the Realm of Elizabeth: England" AD, 1533-1603 do that talking. "More immediately, the urge to explore and exploit distant lands spurred major advances in the art of navigation and its related disciplines-astronomy, mathematics, and the design of better instruments for better surveying the heavens and calculating a ship's position." (Editors of Time-Life Books) These advancements in instruments for exploration helped explorers discover more and find out where they were going using the stars. This previous problem for explorers, trying to find out where they were going using only constellations, was greatly improved and helped with advancements in exploration of the Elizabethan Age because of this.

Moving on to our final piece of advancement, literature. Literature is a crucial part of human culture and was a major part of us for centuries. Of course, during the Elizabethan Age, literature took a major turn and became a much bigger part of society. As said from an article titled "English Literature", "Queen Elizabeth I reigned from 1558 to 1603. During this period, usually called the Elizabethan Age, English writers produced some of the greatest poetry and drama in world literature." (D. White and Michael Seidel) Many pieces of work from this age have become more recognizable and a bigger part of our culture to this day. From Romeo and Juliet, to The Faerie Queene, literature received more changes in popularity and it's part of society than ever. Now, about how literature was produced was interesting. I'll let a piece of the article "English Literature" do the talking. "A number of developments contributed to the brilliant literary output of the Elizabethan Age. One of the most important occurred in 1476, when William Caxton set up the first printing press in England." (D. White and Michael Seidel) Although this did occur before the Elizabethan Age, it contributed to the mass production of literature and helped literature become more widespread. It helped pieces of work become more available to everyone and more popular, seeing how they were already well received.

William Shakespeare, playwright

The second part of literature, theatre, also received a massive advancement in society and culture itself. There were many problems with plays before the Elizabethan Age, but they were fixed and set the boundaries for modern plays. As said by an excerpt from the article "Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match", "In 1576, outside the city walls of London, an actor-manager named James Burbage built the first permanent theater in England." (Robert page 778) Before the first permanent theatre, plays were held in hotels and had setups that were easy to take apart, for they had to be moved from place to place for performances. The first permanent theatre turned everything on it's head by having the people come to the play, and not have the play come to the people. Theatre also become more fluent in it's architecture it's use of every square inch. As said by the same book as before, "Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match", "We can see that this stage, with its few sets and many acting areas--forestall, inner stage, and upper stage--made for a theater of great fluidity." (Robert page 779) Theaters had to be built to keep the motion of and speed of the play going while making use of all the space they have. These architectural advancements to build sets quickly and transition to them while keeping the play fluid made for better theaters.

To conclude, the Elizabethan Era made many advancements in almost all areas, from science, to literature. Almost no parts were left untouched by advancement. So, in short, yes, the Elizabethan Era should be called the age of advancement, for it helped advance many aspects of our lives as it took steps towards modern culture, science, and exploration.

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