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1603: The Death of Queen Elizabeth I, the Return of the Black Plague, the…

by Christopher Lee

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215391,883 (3.36)5
A great step-change in British history took place in 1603: the year that Elizabeth I died and the monarchy passed from the Tudors to the Stuarts, from the house of Henry VIII to James VI of Scotland who ruled as James I of England. It was also the year the Black Death returned, killing some 30,000 out of a population of only 4 million. This is the story of both the history-makers - Elizabeth, James, Robert Cecil, Shakespeare, Galileo - and of the common people; of turmoil in the Church, state-sponsored piracy and the establishment of new trade routes.… (more)

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Lee has chosen to take 1603 as a great turning point in British history, akin to 1066. There is no argument that the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James I and VI, bringing England and Scotland under one monarch, did entail a change for Great Britain - most obviously civil war and eventual unification.
Although Lee has written an interesting book, it is a little choppy in places, and 1603 doesn't seem to provide enough material in itself, there being no great focus, such as the battle of Hastings is for 1066.
There are plenty of extracts from original documents included. It is very interesting to see these in the original English they were written in, although the number of extracts does at times make it heavy going and perhaps not for the casual reader. ( )
  Jawin | Sep 6, 2020 |
Everything that happened in 1603 in Britain . Plague, piracy, Queen Elizabeth I’s death, James I’s ascension to the throne, and a whole mess of historical documents. It’s a hard slog through the whole book, but the sheer amount of first-person sources is worth it. If you’re in the mood to read pages of Elizabethan clerks’ meticulous records, this is the book for you. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
A mostly thematical look at the changes occuring in Britain around this time. I think I would have preferred it if adopted a slightly more chronological and journal-type approach going throughout the year, as I felt it bounced around a bit between rather unconnected topics. It was also a little dry in places, with sometimes overlong extracts from contemporary sources which could have benefited from being translated into slightly more modern English for ease of reading (this is history, not literature). ( )
  john257hopper | Apr 19, 2008 |
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A great step-change in British history took place in 1603: the year that Elizabeth I died and the monarchy passed from the Tudors to the Stuarts, from the house of Henry VIII to James VI of Scotland who ruled as James I of England. It was also the year the Black Death returned, killing some 30,000 out of a population of only 4 million. This is the story of both the history-makers - Elizabeth, James, Robert Cecil, Shakespeare, Galileo - and of the common people; of turmoil in the Church, state-sponsored piracy and the establishment of new trade routes.

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