The Elizabethan Idea of Empire

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The Elizabethan Idea of Empire

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Title: The Elizabethan Idea of Empire
Author: Armitage, David
Citation: Armitage, David. 2004. The Elizabethan idea of empire. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (Sixth Series) 14: 269-277.
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Abstract: This paper argues that the English idea of empire in the reign of Elizabeth I was derivative, belated and incoherent. Its sources were classical and continental rather than indigenous. It arose more than a century after the Scottish monarchy had elaborated its own conception of empire. Moreover, it expressed a sense of backwardness, isolation and anxiety that mirrored the English failure to establish any permanent settlements in the Atlantic world. As a result, any balance sheet of empire drawn up on Elizabeth's death in 1603 would have valued prospects in the Mediterranean and the East Indies more highly than possibilities in the Americas.
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