Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Queen Elizabeth I
Crowned queen of England at the age of twenty-five, Elizabeth I (1533-1603) had one of the longest reigns in history. She never married, earning the nickname the Virgin Queen, and she brought great unity and prosperity to an England and Ireland divided after the bloody reign of her father, Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth I was the second modern female monarch of England, after her sister, Bloody Mary, who ruled for a brief and turbulent five years.
Famously intelligent, cunning, and hot-tempered, Elizabeth quickly established herself as a courageous queen. She decided to never marry, on the grounds that God had given her alone the divine right to rule; thus she never divided her power. She solidified her father’s establishment of England as a Protestant country and became public enemy number one to the Pope and the Catholic Church. With this new, more progressive perspective on religion, Elizabeth was able to rule over the dawn of the English Renaissance and bring about a cultural revival of arts and literature that nurtured writers such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.
Elizabeth made England the leading world power when she defeated the Spanish Armada and ousted the French from Scotland. England became a leader of world trade through her aggressive tactics in commissioning adventurers to establish new trade routes. This included engaging Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake, whose explorations led to England’s establishing the American colonies—thus influencing the future of an entire continent. Her era is romanticized as the golden age of England—and she did all of it solo.