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Era (1558–1603). At that time, the economy of England reached a high point with the founding of the Royal Exchange. With the creation of a stock exchange, not only did England experience a major growth, but so did the rest of the world. Prior to the novel form of commerce, England’s economy was focused primarily on agriculture. Most of the population lived in small villages with less than 500 residents. In the villages, families worked together; the men did most of the heavy work such as plowing, weeding, sowing seed, fertilizing, and harvesting while women took care of household tasks, including cooking, cleaning, and sewing. During the Elizabethan Era, most families owned at least one cow, pig, goat, chicken, or goose, and the women also had the responsibility of caring for any livestock belonging to their family.With the introduction of the Royal Exchange, the agriculture-based economy of England changed drastically. Before, villagers bartered good, but the implementation of the Royal Exchange eliminated bartering and a goods market was established. As a result, landlords and other villagers expected money in return for services.A major economical focus in the Elizabethan Era was raising sheep. When Queen Elizabeth took the throne in 1558, it is estimated that there were more sheep than humans in England. Unsurprisingly, given the number of sheep in England, the new industry transformed country’s economy. The people saw it beneficial to process wool and spin it into thread. This job was assigned to women, but men still contributed to the sheep business by mowing and plowing fields. By the late 1500s, England experienced a momentous expansion in the cloth-manufacturing business.In the small towns, the economy did not concentrate on agriculture. Here, the people were either craftsmen or mechanicals, such as Bottom, Quince, Flute, and others. These men were butchers, bakers, tailors, weavers, blacksmiths, and carpenters. At this stage in the economic development of England, manufacturing was not mass-produced; Instead, men did everything by hand. Those who did not produce goods focused on selling others’ goods to earn a living. The rise in merchants and retailers led to a decrease in guilds and professional unions. The guilds chose and set standards for production, trade, and prices.The more recognizable occupations were professions in medicine, law, education, and in the church. Occupations in those areas were rare because they required a degree from a university, which at that time, required a significant amount of money to obtain. Doctors, lawyers and educators were better educated, more wealthy, and held a higher social status.
Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream during the Elizabethan Era (1558–1603).
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