Queen Elizabeth's reign

That was Francis Drake who in 1577 started for South America. He explored the coast of California and made his way across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, round Africa, and returned to England in 1580. Queen Elizabeth's reign was also famous for arts and theatre development. Elizabeth was a good musician herself. English music, especially church music, was then among the best in Europe.

Many great men wrote poetry, drama was also famous. William Shakespeare's plays were written in the years of her reign and are a guide to the life of the period. They not only show to us how men in those times looked, talked and behaved but how they thought and felt. to different lands. They tried to find a quick way to India round the north of Russia. England wanted to trade peacefully with other countries and to find empty lands where it could plant her own colonies.

In those years the first Englishman sailed round the world.

Elizabeth I came to throne in 1558. She had many of her father's, Henry VII, qualities including common sense and strength of character. Like him, she understood people. She loved hunting and dancing. She travelled a lot round the country. She wanted to know her people and to be known by them. Her soldiers and sailors admired her courage. She could speak Latin, Greek and several modern languages. She enjoyed a joke.

During her reign Queen Elizabeth solved her first problem, the Church. The Anglican Church under Elizabeth followed a middle course. Most people in Britain wanted what her father, Henry VIII, had given them: a reformed Catholic Church that used the English language and was free from foreign influence. And they got what they wanted.

Elizabeth's next problem was to keep her enemies quiet until her country was strong enough to defend itself. The greatest danger came from Spain. In July 1588 the Spanish Armada of one hundred and thirty Spanish ships arrived in the Channel. The English ships were faster than the slow Armada. The English guns could shoot farther. After the battle less than half of the proud Armada came back to its home ports. This defeat of Spain was very important for England. During Queen Elizabeth's reign England sent its explorers.

Cardiff - the Welsh Capital

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. It lies on the southeast coast of Wales on the Bristol Channel. Although Cardiff is not a metropolis (its current population is only about 300,000), it is an important administrative, commercial, cultural and industrial centre and port.

Cardiff has been the official capital of Wales since 1955. There has been a community here for hundreds of years, but it began to grow quickly and to become prosperous during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This was the period when the coal, iron and steel industries were developing in South Wales, and Cardiff became major industrial town and an important port. Today it is an attractive and interesting place to live in, with good communications, plenty of parks and a varied population which includes nearly 10,000 university and college students. Cardiff is a city of contrasts. The famous Cardiff Castle dating back to Roman times, stands alongside a modern shopping centre with many fashionable shops, excellent restaurants and hotels. The Castle, built in 1090, is the greatest tourist attraction.

Cardiff is also known for its beautiful parks covering hundreds of acres in the city. The major commercial buildings are found around Cathays Park. Cardiff has also one of the world's great Civil Centres including the Law Courts; the University College; the National Museum of Wales with an astonishing range of exhibits in natural science, archeology, botany, zoology and art; and the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum housing a collection of boats and railway vehicles. If you like music, there is the famous national concert hall, St David's Hall, or the New Theatre, which is the home of the Welsh Opera Company.

Visitors to Cardiff may also admire Llandaff Cathedral built in the late Gothic style, and the richly decorated building of City Hall.

Although Cardiff is not so exciting as London, it is still an attractive and interesting place to see.