On November 17, 1558 at the age of 25, Elizabeth I became Queen taking over the throne from her half-sister Mary I, who died after a brief reign of only five years; they share a common father in King Henry VIII of England.
Elizabeth’s sister was given the unflattering moniker of “Bloody Mary” because of the protestants executed, or at the very least persecuted and imprisoned, under her Catholic rule.
Elizabeth I, in contrast to her sister’s short rule, was Queen for over 44 years. Her start in life was tragic. Her mother Anne Boleyn (the second wife of Henry VIII and as such the Queen of England) was found guilty of high treason on May 15, 1536 and beheaded four days later when Elizabeth was only two and a half years of age.
Elizabeth’s father the King had his marriage to Anne annulled and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate stripping away her title as princess and replaced with Lady Elizabeth.
But despite her dire beginnings that would have defeated most, it did not stop Elizabeth I from becoming one of our most admired and iconic Queens. Her time of reign is known as The Elizabethan era. Upon becoming Queen she made her intentions known. Her speech (Full document reproduced by Loades, 36–37. ) below:
My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all … to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.
The name John Hancock is synonymous with one’s signature. He was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence and legend has it that he purposely made his signature large and legible, so that King George III would be sure to read it clearly.
Born on January 23, 1737 in Braintree (now Quincy), Province of Massachusetts Bay he was one of the wealthiest men in the Thirteen Colonies; thanks to an inheritance from his successful mercantile uncle.
Before his death on October 8, 1793, he was the 1st and 3rd Governor of Massachusetts.
One of the signers of The Declaration of Independence and an organizer of the Boston Tea Party, it is clear that Samuel Adams was a staunch opponent of Great Britain. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 1722 and President John Adams was his second cousin.
He was a graduate of Harvard and went on to become a U.S. Governor, Statesman before his death on October 2, 1803.
On a borrowed horse Revere set out as messenger on his famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington.
Texas was once a Mexican state, when a push for independence from within became strong; a desire to be free from the rule of the Mexican government. Colonel William Travis was seen as a vital leader of this uprising.
The Texas revolution began in 1835 and in February of 1836 Travis was appointed as a lieutenant colonel of the San Antonio troops.
It was on February 23, that a surprise arrival of the Mexican army under General Santa Ana sent the Texas troops retreating into the old Spanish mission, the Alamo. It was there that they sought refuge from the 5,000 soldiers of the Mexican army. The Alamo defenders were 186 small.
Knowing they were seriously outnumbered, Travis sent word for help, in more than one message, using couriers. One message became particularly famous addressed to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World” and signed “Victory or Death.”
On March 6, death came for the defenders, including Travis, who were killed when the Mexican troops stormed the Alamo. The defenders however did not die in vain. The battle cry “Remember the Alamo” led the remaining Texas revolutionaries to eventual victory and by April they had won their independence.
As an added note to my post on the Alamo, my friend and historian, William Welge, who lived in San Antonio, added these interesting facts:
There were exactly 186 defenders of the Alamo along with several dozen women and children. The women and children were spared by General Santa Ana. The Alamo was built in 1718 when San Antonio was first founded. The mission grounds were much larger than what one sees today.
The Smiley Face symbol’s origin was in 1963. It was created by graphic artist Harvey Ross Ball in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Charles Ball Founder of Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation