I have recently been reading about England’s Queen Elizabeth I who reigned from 1558 – 1603. She ruled during the Golden Age of England and made England a dominant power in the world after she wiped out the Spanish Armada. She was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married and did the things associated with that union. She was a brilliant leader and re-established the Anglican Church in England. England saw some other brilliant and notable folks during her time including, Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Edmund Spenser, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Henry had six wives in an attempt to produce a male heir to the crown. His third wife was successful and gave birth to Edward. Edward was sickly and did not serve long as king, which brought Henry’s daughters Mary and then Elizabeth in line. Henry had a couple of his wives beheaded, including Elizabeth’s mother Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth had her cousin Mary Queen of Scots beheaded.
Beheading was very much in fashion during the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Elizabeth’s mother Anne Boleyn was very accommodating during her execution. She tied her hair up to properly expose her neck and provide a good target. She requested that the act be done with a sword rather than an ax because it would be a much cleaner job. The French used the guillotine, which was even more effective.
We have become a lot more effective in killing each other. Our techniques for execution have greatly improved through the years. Stoning was one of the first methods used to rid us of unwanted people who had sinned, voted the wrong way and other such crimes. Beheading became popular during medieval times and this method is still employed by backward cultures of today such as the Taliban. Hanging was the next popular method and was used for years. They hung people for the slightest infraction of the law in the old west. It seemed to be a great sport and source of entertainment during that period of American history. The gun introduced us to the firing squad and electricity to the electric chair. The gas chamber became popular after cyanide became available and was used so effectively by the Nazis in their prison camps during the holocaust. Now, because we are interested in preserving human dignity and minimizing pain and suffering we are using lethal injection. Sometimes this is even botched and we are continuing to look for better ways of disposal for the criminals and innocent who had a bad lawyer.
Anyway, it’s a lot of fun reading about Elizabeth I and Henry VIII. It makes me thankful to be on the porch, but the reading gives me a chill and I tend to pull my shirt up around my neck for a little protection.