On balance, it can be said that Elizabeth provided the country with a long period of general if not total peace and generally increased prosperity due in large part to stealing from Spanish treasure ships, raiding settlements with low defenses, and selling African slaves.
Having inherited a virtually bankrupt state from previous reigns, her frugal policies restored fiscal responsibility.
It was reported at the trial of Essex by Chamberlain's Men actor Augustine Phillips, that the conspirators paid the company forty shillings "above the ordinary" (i.
The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism.
England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe.
Another major conspiracy was the Babington Plot — the event which most directly led to Mary's execution, the discovery of which involved a double agent, Gilbert Gifford, acting under the direction of Francis Walsingham, the Queen's highly effective spy master.
The Essex Rebellion of 1601 has a dramatic element, as just before the uprising, supporters of the Earl of Essex, among them Charles and Joscelyn Percy (younger brothers of the Earl of Northumberland), paid for a performance of Richard II at the Globe Theatre, apparently with the goal of stirring public ill will towards the monarchy.
'Merry England', in love with life, expressed itself in music and literature, in architecture and in adventurous seafaring".
Elizabethan England was not particularly successful in a military sense during the period, but it avoided major defeats and built up a powerful navy.
The symbol of Britannia was first used in 1572, and often thereafter, to mark the Elizabethan age as a renaissance that inspired national pride through classical ideals, international expansion, and naval triumph over the Spanish – at the time, a rival kingdom much hated by the people of the land.
In terms of the entire century, the historian John Guy (1988) argues that "England was economically healthier, more expansive, and more optimistic under the Tudors" than at any time in a thousand years.
It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada was repulsed.
It was also the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.
With taxes lower than other European countries of the period, the economy expanded; though the wealth was distributed with wild unevenness, there was clearly more wealth to go around at the end of Elizabeth's reign than at the beginning.