It was a good time to be English during the Elizabethan era. During this era, Shakespeare created many of his famous plays, thus making England a cultural center recognized by all of Europe and eventually the world. The English economy improved during Elizabeth's reign. with the Royal Stock Exchange being established by Sir Thomas Gresham. The nation also enjoyed at time of relative religious peace at home, as Elizabeth was a Protestant with no ties to the Roman Catholic Church.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Elizabethan England was the nation's rise as a maritime power. England survived a potential attack by the Spanish Armada in 1588. The queen even threatened to personally fight for the nation's defense. English pirates had been taking Spanish gold shipments from the New World for years; now Francis Drake and his Seadogs led the way in England becoming an imperial nation in its own right. Drake circumnavigated the globe, thus earning international acclaim. English shipbuilding increased during this period, and this would set the stage for the next three hundred years of English imperialism. Elizabeth would charter the East India Company, and settlers would attempt to colonize the New World with the failed colony at Roanoke.
While conditions for the poor and religious dissenters were quite bad in England during this time, one must consider that religious dissenters were treated poorly everywhere. English maritime power dates back to the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Shakespeare made English literature internationally famous with his plays and sonnets. These things made the Elizabethan era one of the best times, for those living within the nation, in English history.