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The years of Elizabeth I’s reign (1558-1603) were, first of all, uncluttered by inter-family struggles, since Elizabeth had no brothers or sisters. Secondly, the almost perpetual struggles with France were in abeyance during this time. Thirdly, the Spanish Armada, the only challenge to her sovereignty, was destroyed by storm and good luck. Socially, the other European countries (Italy, Germany, etc.) were contributing cultural richness to the relatively peaceful United Kingdom. With a steady increase in economic power, due to favorable trade agreements elsewhere, England could afford the Arts, especially literature and drama, and well-educated university “wits” took advantage of the wide range of social classes available as audience (the queen’s court itself, as well as the common “groundlings” enjoyed and patronized the theatre, including Shakespeare' company). It was a time of temporary peace and posterity, and thus was often called “the Gold Age” of England, before America’s growth and revolt, and before the next onslaught of the Plague. The Catholic Church had found itself relatively powerless against the fairly new Church of England.
It is called the golden age of England because it is a period in which great tasks were accomplished. England was economically healthier and more expansive. It was a time of great national pride, expansion, and naval triumph. It was the time of the English Renaissance in which there was a flowering of poetry, music, and literature. This time period was also very successful militarily.
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