How Much Do You Know About the Elizabethan Era?

By: Isadora Teich
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
How Much Do You Know About the Elizabethan Era?
Image: William Segar / Hatefield House / Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Most historians consider the Elizabethan Era to be England's golden era, but what does that really mean? This period refers to the reign of the Tudor Queen Elizabeth I. Also known as The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth's reign lasted from 1558-1603. This period was relevant and exciting for many reasons,  including the massive Renaissance that swept England. While the Italian and Northern Renaissances are famous mostly for the art produced, like paintings and sculptures, the Elizabethan English Renaissance was a bit different. It primarily focused on literature, theater and poetry. Life during this time was different than many people think! 

Are you ready for a true blast from the past? The Elizabethan Era was different from other periods for many reasons. It was a rare moment of mostly peace in English history, during which many advancements were made. Queen Elizabeth herself was a fierce and interesting figure, often regarded as one of the most iconic monarchs of all time. She has been portrayed on screen and stage more than any other British ruler over the years. 

When it comes to Elizabethan England, do you know your stuff? See how much you really know about England's golden age with this very royal quiz! 

Did most Elizabethans eat healthy diets?
Yes
No
While the rich had more food options than the poor, who often starved, their meat and sweets focused diets were lacking a lot of nutrients. Scurvy, caused by a lack of vitamin C, was common.

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What were conditions like in many Tudor cities and towns?
Safe and clean
Dirty
Back then, people had little knowledge of science or health, and there was no public sanitation. There were no sewers or drains, and people threw trash and anything else unwanted in the streets. This caused the spread of many diseases.
Underpopulated
Isolated

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Who was Queen Elizabeth's famous father?
King Henry VIII
Elizabeth was the daughter of the famous English King Henry VIII, who is known for having had six wives. Her mother was Anne Boleyn, the King's second wife, who he had executed by beheading.
King George I
King Louis XIV
Peter the Great

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Which disease was common in Elizabethan England?
Measles
Scarlet fever
Plague
All of the above
Most cities and towns in Elizabethan England had little in terms of public sanitation. This was an especially big problem in large cities like London, where poor public health practices led to rats, bugs and the spread of dozens of diseases.

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Which colony was founded in North America by the English during the Elizabethan Era?
New York
Roanoke
While the Spanish and French had been colonizing the New World since the 15th and 16th centuries, England was a little bit behind. Several of its first attempts to colonize the New World, such as the famously vanished Roanoke colony, were not successful.
St. Lucia
Bombay

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What did the English make a lot of progress in during the Elizabethan Era?
Exploration
The English made many exploratory strides during the Elizabethan Era. Sea Captain and Privateer Sir Francis Drake became the first to lead a successful circumnavigation of the globe as Captain. English privateer and seaman Martin Frobisher also explored the Arctic.
Astronomy
Alchemy
Philosophy

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Were girls educated in Elizabethan England?
Rarely
Boys from wealthy families were often taught at home by private tutors, which was less common for girls. Boys from even the most impoverished families could receive rudimentary education if they were not needed to work for the family.
It was illegal.
Always
Usually

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Which famous English creative hit his stride in this era?
Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was a famous playwright and poet whose work was popular in the Elizabethan Era and remains influential to this day. He invented many words we still use, such as "bedroom" and "control."
Tolkien
Bacon
Blake

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What largely influenced diet in Elizabethan England?
Science
Social class
While today eating a plant-based diet is associated with wealth and privilege in the West, back then it was associated with poverty. The rich did not eat many vegetables, as food that grew from the ground was considered lowly peasant food. They mostly ate meat and fish.
The weather
Religion

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In Elizabethan England, there were laws that dictated what you could wear according to your what?
Name
Hair color
Class
Elizabethan Sumptuary Statues dictated who could wear which colors and fabrics according to their class. For example, legally, clothing trimmed with ermine fur could only be worn by members of the royal family.
Age

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The English navy secured a famous victory against which country during this era?
Egypt
Spain
In 1588, the English defeated the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines. Due partially to England's raiding of their commerce ships, Spain wanted to conquer England. However, stormy seas delayed them and gave England the edge it needed to defeat Spain and achieve naval dominance.
Italy
India

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Which of these was newly introduced to the English during this era?
Coffee
Tea
Chocolate
All of the above
There were numerous new foods available to the rich as trade continued to pick up around the world. These included things like tea, chocolate, spices, potatoes, oranges and coffee.

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Which of these things did people of all classes partake in regularly?
Eating chocolate
Travel
Card games
It's thought that card games arrived in Europe from the Arab World in Mediterranean port cities, before spreading and adapting. People of all classes in England enjoyed card games. One popular game was called Maw.
Fine clothing

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What religion did Queen Elizabeth belong to?
Protestantism
Despite being popular in England, Elizabeth was not well liked by Catholics. Numerous groups of Catholics conspired throughout her reign to assassinate her and replace her with a Catholic monarch in order to make England Catholic again.
Catholicism
Pantheism
Atheism

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Were Elizabethan people superstitious?
Very
Elizabethan people were very superstitious. Belief in ghosts was especially common. This is probably why ghosts and the occult feature in many of Shakespeare's most famous plays, such as "Hamlet" and "Macbeth."
Not at all
Superstition was illegal.
A little bit

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Why did usually only upper-class people take part in jousting tournaments?
The law
It was expensive.
Jousting was incredibly expensive, as it required a horse, full armor and a heavy lance. It was a bloody and dangerous sport and many people died taking part in it, including a French King.
It was unpopular.
The poor were too busy.

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The Ridolfi plot was a famous international conspiracy to kill Queen Elizabeth I. Why did so many people want to kill her?
She was a woman.
She was a Protestant.
In the old days, England's protestant society did not sit well with the rest of Catholic Europe. This is why in the 1570 Ridolfi plot, agents in Spain, Italy and France wanted to kill the Protestant Elizabeth and replace her with the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots.
She was a witch.
She started a world war.

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Which of these things, which is common in most modern buildings, was a sign of wealth in Elizabethan England?
Chimneys
Garages
Windows
During the Tudor period, glass was commonly used in homes for the first time. Many wealthy Tudors began to use many and ornate windows in their mansion homes as a symbol of wealth. People who could not afford glass often used cloth or paper.
Roofs

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What was life like for most people in Elizabethan cities?
Rough
There was a vast wealth gap in society, and the government spent mostly on wars and colonial projects rather than public welfare. Many men, women and children begged for money in the dirty and dangerous city streets.
Comfortable
Wealthy
Deadly

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How many children did Queen Elizabeth have?
None
Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth never married or had children. She claimed to be married to her country. This is why she is often referred to and remembered as The Virgin Queen.
1
2
4

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Was there a strict class system in Elizabethan England?
Yes
In this era, there were six main classes: the monarchy, the nobility, the gentry, the merchants, the tradesmen and the laborers. There were also a vast number of people living in incredible poverty, and those deemed to be able-bodied who did not have a job or title could be legally punished.
Somewhat
Not really
Not at all

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What did people drink most during this era?
Milk
Water
Coffee
Alcohol
Especially in cities, water was often contaminated and unsafe to drink, as people would pour trash and waste into rivers. Most people, even kids, drank a lot of beer, cider, ale or wine.

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True or false? Most English adults were married during the Elizabethan era.
True
It is estimated that over 90% of all English adults were married during this era. The upper classes tended to get married younger than those in the upper classes, and many English brides were already pregnant at their weddings.
False

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A desire to hunt and kill witches swept most of Europe into a bloody frenzy. Was it like that in Elizabethan England?
There were no witch hunts.
It was less but present.
In Europe, witch hunts were sweeping for centuries. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people were accused of and executed for being suspected witches across Europe. However, only a few hundred suspected witches were murdered in England.
It was the same.
It was worse.

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Who was allowed to hunt?
Everyone
Royals
The upper classes
In this era, the wealthy enjoyed pastimes like jousting and hunting. They would often use trained packs of dogs or falcons to hunt different animals. These included foxes, boars and small game.
The poor

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What currently illegal activity was popular entertainment for Elizabethans?
Gambling
Dog fighting
Today, in many countries, dog fighting, cock fighting and things like that are considered animal cruelty and are illegal. In Elizabethan England, bear baiting, dog fighting and cock fighting were all considered entertainment.
Deuling
Flyting

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What was the government like in Elizabethan England?
Small
Weak
Large and complex
The English government was a monarchy helmed by Queen Elizabeth. However, it also had three bodies, including Parliament, which was split into the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Highly efficient

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What happened to the population of London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth?
Increased
Died of plague
Doubled
At the beginning of Elizabeth's reign in 1558, about 100,000 people were living in London. By the end of her reign in 1603, historians estimate that the population had doubled to about 200,000 people.
Fled

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The Elizabethan Age was full of plots and conspiracies. Which led to the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots?
The Gunpowder Plot
The Throckmorton Plot
The Bye Plot
The Babington Plot
The Babington Plot was a famous massive conspiracy. Like many in England at the time, it involved overthrowing Elizabeth in order to reinstate Catholicism in England. This plot involved intrigue, murder and a double agent.

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What often surprised visitors from other European countries when they visited England?
How clean it was
How populated it was
How rich it was
How free the women were
There is not a lot of historical information specific to the lives of Elizabethan Englishwomen. However, multiple accounts exist from foreign men, who were unhappy with how free and educated upper-class Englishwoman seemed compared to those in their home countries.

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About how much of the population of Elizabethan England lived in poverty?
Half
A third
About a third of all Elizabethan English people lived in poverty. While the wealthy were supposed to give charity to the poor who could not work, those who were considered able-bodied and poor were treated harshly by the law.
A fifth
An eighth

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One of the earliest ____________ in the world opened up in Elizabethan England.
Museums
Stock exchanges
In 1565, the first stock exchange in England opened up. Called the Royal Exchange, it was one of the earliest stock exchanges in Europe. It was founded in London by the merchant Sir Thomas Gresham.
Theaters
Temples

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The Elizabethan Era lasted from 1558 to 1603. What came after it?
Victorian Era
Restoration
Jacobean Era
The Jacobean Era covers the reign of King James I. This word is often used to refer to architecture, literature and other types of art that are reminiscent of that particular period.
Edwardian Era

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Which of these things, which used to be considered medicinal, is not anymore?
Pepper
Sugar
Some Ancient Greek sources reveal that sugar was considered a medicine, and various misunderstandings of it lasted throughout the centuries. Due to her sweet tooth, and the fact that sugar was used to clean her teeth, Queen Elizabeth had severe issues with rotten teeth later in life.
Rum
Venison

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Which of these made Elizabethan England wealthy?
Elizabeth's economic policies
Stealing Spanish treasure
Elizabeth inherited a country that was almost bankrupt from previous monarchs. She managed to turn this around with frugal policies, and by bringing in money through the African Slave Trade and raiding Spanish treasure ships.
Conquering Europe
North American colonies

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