You won't find dusty topics and long-dead heroes and villains in the National Geographic History Book. Turn the pages and you'll find documents, letters, journals, telegrams, posters, and artworks that you can literally pull out and examine. See for yourself, with the primary source materials that history buffs love, what really happened and who really did it.
Pull out Shakespeare's will and see how he changed his mind about who got what. Examining a facsimile of the Zouche-Nuttall Codex gives you a sense of the turmoil of pre-Columbian Mexico. Take a look at a steamy love letter written by Napoleon to his wife Josephine. Marvel at the beauty of a wall fresco from first-century Pompeii. Read pages from the Gutenberg Bible, the world's first printed book. Examine a "Wanted" poster for Abraham Lincoln's assassin, and more.
Through the pages of this book, you will explore the forces that shaped our world, from the Roman Empire and the Black Death to Hollywood and the World Wide Web. Mozart and Picasso. Genghis Khan and Gandhi. Hitler, Elvis, and Martin Luther King Jr. Not an encyclopedia or a comprehensive survey, the National Geographic History Book is a storyboard of major characters, key plot point and crucial details in the moving picture of human history. It is a portal through time, a collector's showcase of historical treasures and oddities, and a scrapbook of the human family.
Marcus Cowper studied Medieval history at the universities of Manchester and Birmingham. He specialized in High and Late Medieval Church history, and received his postgraduate degree for a study on the impact of heresy in the locality. He has edited Osprey military history books for more than seven years and is one of the editors responsible for the creation of the Fortress series.
The Age of Elizabeth I
1533 - 1603
From the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots to the defeat of the Spanish Armada; from the introduction to England of the humble potato to the ravages of the Black Death; and from the colonization of the New World to the creation of some of the greatest works in the English literary canon, the “Golden Age” of Queen Elizabeth I was a roller-coaster of colourful characters and momentous events.
Born to the ill-fated Anne Boleyn during her brief marriage to King Henry VIII, Elizabeth was denounced as illegitimate following her mother’s beheading in 1536. Brought up far from the royal court, the young princess was nevertheless well educated and displayed a sharp intellect, proving herself a talented linguist, a keen sportswoman and an avid supporter of the arts, drawing pleasure from music, dancing, and theatre. Reinstated by her father in the line of succession in 1544, Elizabeth finally ascended to the throne in 1559, following the brief reigns of her half-brother Edward VI (1547–53), Lady Jane Grey, the “Nine Day Queen”, and finally her half-sister Mary I (1553–58) who had Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of attempted treason.
Despite being linked romantically to Thomas Seymour, husband to her widowed stepmother Katherine Parr and a convicted traitor; Philip II of Spain, who sought her hand following the death of his wife Mary I; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; and two dukes of Anjou, Henri and Francis, Elizabeth never married. Whether her reasons were personal or political, driven by concerns over religious differences and loss of regal powers, the “Virgin Queen” died childless as the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
Upon her coronation Elizabeth cast out the Catholicism that had been in force during Mary’s reign, returning England to the Protestant faith and laying the foundations for the modern-day Church of England. For much of Elizabeth’s reign, her cousin Mary Queen of Scots posed a shadowy threat to the crown, exiled from her own country where her son James VI was declared king in her place in 1567. The next year, Mary sought refuge in England, where for nearly 20 years Elizabeth held her as prisoner until, in 1587, she authorized her cousin’s execution on suspicion of involvement in the Babington plot.
Elizabeth proved herself an exceptionally able strategist, leading her country through a period of rapid territorial expansion and military conquest. Under her rule, an English fleet of some 200 vessels defeated Philip II’s 130-strong Spanish Armada in 1588, while adventurers such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh began the English colonization of the New World, with the foundation of the first English colony at Roanoke Island, the naming and claiming of New Albion (California), Newfoundland, and Virginia. Her reign was a time of great cultural achievement also, encompassing the work of playwrights such as Christopher Marlow, Ben Johnson and, most notably, William Shakespeare and of poets such as Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney.
Upon her death in 1603, Elizabeth was succeeded by her cousin’s son James VI of Scotland, who as James I of England became the first king to unite the two countries under a single monarch.