Monday, September 7, 2009

The Tudor Year: September

Theme: exploration

Replica of the Golden Hind, Brixham Harbor, Devon. (Image from; photograph by Annette Fisher.)

September 7: Birth of Elizabeth, 1533; death of Catherine Parr, 1548
September 26: Francis Drake returns from circumnavigating the globe, 1580
September 29: Michaelmas

The agrarian year ended at Michaelmas, standing at "the opposite end of the year to Lady Day (March 25th)." It was another important rent paying day and a day for holding local elections. Drake's return from his three-year voyage in the Golden Hind reminds us that the Tudor age was also the age of exploration -- and of plunder, especially Drake's of Spain's rich possessions in South America, and of a burgeoning slave trade. Walter Ralegh sent several expeditions in the 1580s to the area that Queen Elizabeth agreed to call "Virginia" in her honor, but these small colonizing efforts were overwhelmed by the need to prepare for and fight off the Spanish Armada. By the time Ralegh was able to send relief to Roanoke in 1590, the settlement had vanished.


Cressy, David. Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989, p. 29.

Somerset, Anne. Elizabeth I. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1991, pp. 324-325.

Ibid., pp. 337-338.

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