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Elizabethan foreign policy

Updated on August 19, 2016

The foreign policy during the Elizabethan period had not only made a diplomatic revolution but also the remarkable reversal of alliances, economy, military and religion.The way she kept people guessing on what's her next move is led to remarkable changes?Her policies made her presence in the Europe.Some of the policies were marriage and alliances ,which were the key issue during her period. During the Dutch revolt,she used the marriage alliances to get funds for the protestant. Like these key issues, she made the politicians which are used till now.Comparing other rulers she was bolder in her activities. She supported the unity of all countries in the British Isles. All these characters helped her to succeed against powerful countries Spain and France who were on verge of conquering England and some of them almost succeeded

Initial Period

Initially, the counselors’ main concern was to bring matrimonial alliances with Queen. The ambassadors of various countries like Sweden, France, and Spain sent many marriage proposals. Queen used these proposals in the making of her policy. The queen was a real twister and turner in the foreign policy. The queen kept lengthy audiences with ambassadors and had the great discussion with them.

Elizabeth was proclaimed queen on November 17th, 1558.She dissolved the parliament and councilors. The question of marriage between Elizabeth with Archduke Ferdinand was discussed by the counselors . Finally, Elizabeth decided not take marriage alliances with Spain, unlike Mary .Loss of Calais during the period of Mary was still at large seen in during the Elizabethan period. Comparing the rule of her predecessors Henry and Edward, Elizabeth initial conditions were worse than the others. During this time, England had Financial and military problems. Reformation in religion led to worsening of the situation. The queen tried to take back Calais and failed to take it back. In 1559 the French king sends a sum of 500,000 crowns of gold to the queen under the treaty of Chateau-Cambresis and he would retain Calais for 8 years.

There were lots of conflicts between Scotland and England during henry period. Elizabeth brought the union of Scotland and England. Initial period, there has been few conflicts between the two borders. The Scots raided England many times and as the government was far from the borders, they could not secure the borders. The Scots stole cattle, burnt mills and destroyed the cattle .Initially; Henry tried to attack Scotland to bring unity of Britain under one crown. Henry waged war on James V and a few weeks later, in the battle of Solway James V dies. Henry tried persuaded marriage alliance between Mary of scots and to his son Edward. Scots preferred an alliance with French rather than with Britain. Scotland Government created alliances with French, allowing French army to invade Edinburgh and Leith. This caused the war between England, French, and Scotland. During Elizabeth era, Mary of scots persuaded French to invade England. The marriage alliances between Mary of scots and Francis II in 1558 .This led to the most of the French army into Scotland. The queen supported protestant reformers against French. England sends their forces to support the reformers. They besieged Leith and forced French out of the country. The English, Scotland and French had a treaty. The treaty is called treaty of Edinburgh .This led to the expelling of Mary of scots out of Scotland by the English. This led reformation in Scotland. This brings peace between the 2 borders. Mary came back to Scotland after her husband’s death to reclaim her throne. She tried to persuade Elizabeth that her views on religion are same as hers. But Queen Elizabeth had a different thought and disengaged talks between herself and Mary Stuart in 1562.

French and Elizabeth

During 1560’s period, Queen Elizabeth slowly consolidated power and wealth. Enmity between the English and the French reduced during the civil war. After the death of Henry II in 1559, there was an economic collapse. The French government started taxing the people, which led outbreak of civil war. On top of that, Henry II persecuted followers of the religious teachings of John Calvin, known as Huguenots, in France. Catherine de' Medici, the regent of Charles IX, proposed the Edict of January with the hopes that Calvinism and Catholicism could co-exist in France and that fighting would cease. Catherine was not sympathetic to the cause of Mary Stuart and was without the support from Paris. But, on 1st of March, Francis ordered the killing of Huguenots in one of the churches in Wassy. They slaughtered as many as 125 and hundred were wounded. This massacre led to civil wars in France. Queen Elizabeth was a protestant and was persuaded by her favorite, Robert Dudley to send small troops to France to support the Huguenots in battle and to regain back Calais. She named Earl of Warwick as commander of English garrison in Le Havre. The Earl had put many protestants in the war council. They were defeated in Rouen and were subjected to harsh terms. This forced English troop out of France and after 2 years they signed a treaty called Treaty of Troyes and had to give up claims of Calais. During this period, Elizabeth began negotiation of the marriage proposal with the duke of Alençon which came to nothing. This led to the renewal of friendship between the 2 countries. During the revolt in Nether lands, French sent troops to Netherlands to aid English in the war against Spain. To ensure the French kept their word, Elizabeth hand in marriage with Duke of Anjou .This caused anger in the society. Anjou financed Elizabeth’s campaign with the sum of 60,000 pounds. The hostility created by Mary was diluted after these events.


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    • ajithknn profile image

      ajithknn 4 years ago

      i have written some more

    • ajithknn profile image

      ajithknn 4 years ago

      thank you for the comments

    • aparnas profile image

      aparnas 4 years ago

      This is good.

    • profile image

      WWW 5 years ago

      "Le Cateau-Cambrésis" is the name of the town. Do not write "Chateau-Cambresis" please!...

    • ajithknn profile image

      ajithknn 5 years ago


    • dadibobs profile image

      dadibobs 5 years ago from Manchester, England

      you make some interesting statements. You could put some more information into your hubs.

      A good first hub.

    • ajithknn profile image

      ajithknn 5 years ago

      This my first hub.please do give feed back.