National Geographic : 1968 Nov
ike a sinister shadow, the hulking Tower of London haunted young Elizabeth's thoughts, be cause of the "Prisonin'tfor men disloyall"-andfor women accused, as the fate of her own mother reminded her.In 1536, only three years after Queen Anne Boleyn bore Elizabeth,Henry VIII charged his wife with treason, committed her to the Tower, and then to death on the block. mind and spirit, hope and action. The Eliza bethan felt that the world was his oyster and he held the knife to open it. Much that is vital in American culture stems from the Elizabethans. Their ships explored the finite earth just as our astro nauts probe the frontiers of space; the quest ing spirit is the same. It is a legacy the Eliza bethans have left us.* When Elizabeth I spoke her defiance at Tilbury, her kingdom was expecting a blow from Europe's most powerful military force. Twenty years of cold war between England and Spain had finally blown hot. His Most Catholic Majesty, King Philip II of Spain, 670 had sent out from Lisbon an Armada, already acclaimed "the Invincible," of 130 ships bris tling with 2,500 guns and manned by 27,000 sailors and soldiers. Philip's practical purpose was to eliminate the English naval threat on the flank of his supply lines to the Spanish Netherlands and to retaliate for Elizabeth's allowing her cor sairs to prey upon his shipping; his ideological intent, to punish Protestant England for apostasy from the "true religion." Even now, so far as the English knew, the vast flotilla was engaged by their fleet some *See "The British Way," by Sir Evelyn Wrench, NA TIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1949.