Otázka: British History
About British history I might be talking for hours. Therefore I decided to start with 16th century and Elizabeth I. and then compare society and fashion in 18th and 19th century.
During the reign of Henry VIII. there were many disputes between Catholics and Protestants. Protestantism was the favorite religion in Germany and Bohemia. But the main religion in England was Catholicism, which didn’t allow divorces. Henry was married, but he fell in love with Ann Boleyn and wanted to get divorced with his wife, therefore he founded the Church of England. The head of this church wasn’t the Pope, but the king. So he got divorced and married Ann Boleyn, who was mother of Elizabeth I.
During the reign of Elizabeth I. was founded the first English colony – Virginia. From Virginia ware carried potatoes, tobacco and first slaves, so in 16th century began the slave trade. For Elizabeth worked some well-known sea-dogs, such as Francis Drake, John Hawking or Frobisher. E fell in love with Walter Raleigh, who was also a sea-dog and pirate. E had a big problem with her cousin Mary Stuart. Mary was the queen of Scotland and France and she wanted to become also the queen of England. But the conspiracy against E was found and Mary was executed even if E didn’t want it. By killing Mary Stuart Phillip the Spain, who was Elizabeth’s enemy, got the excuse to start war with England. But English fleet managed to destroy the Spanish fleet. Phillip the Spain and Mary Stuart weren’t the only problems that E had. Her next problem was religion. Some Catholics didn’t agree with Anglicanism but E was very tolerant so she didn’t punish them.
Entertainment during the reign of E I. was similar to 18th and 19th century. So people used to draw, sing or dance, which was very important to the society. In 16th century there was a big increase of coursing, which used to be only for high social classes, but Elizabeth I. liked it very much and she wrote rules, so that members of lower classes could also participate. Coursing is a canine sport and dogs have to follow a rabbit and snatch it. Evaluated isn’t only the result, but also effort and this sport is ideal way how dogs can discharge their energy. Nowadays, this sport is still very widespread but in many countries is banned to use a live rabbit as a bait, therefore is used a bait made up of rabbit’s skin.
And finally, as I promised, I would like to compare 18th and 19th century. So at first let’s have a look at society. In both periods were men regarded as upper class and women belonged to them. They didn’t have any property and their only goal was to marry a suitable man. It means that rich woman mustn’t have married a man from lower class. It was unacceptable and similar stories were described in romantic novels. Members of middle and upper classes were very polite and they used formal and elevated English. Art was for middle and upper classes very important part of live. Drawing, singing, dancing or playing some musical instrument was a part of primary education. Talking about education, I have to say that conditions in schools were really bad. Children had tuberculosis and were beaten which led to high children mortality. But due to art, people seemed more talented than nowadays but on the other hand they were reserved, sometimes cold and upset and members of upper classes were snobbish, so I think it must have been very difficult to get on well with them.
And now, I would like to compare fashion. In both periods upper classes used to wear formal clothes and they always looked perfect. Now I’ll concentrate on men’s fashion. Whereas in the 18th century when men used to wear brightly colored coats and checked shirts, in the 19th century they used to wear coats with long sleeves and long vests. In 18th century were popular long trousers of different color than coat, cylinders, walking sticks, mustaches and sideburns. In the end of 19th century turned up neckwear, jackets and tight trousers and these kinds of clothes became very popular. Women’s fashion in 18th century was based on flared skirts and many petticoats under it. Large hats decorated with flowers and artificial fruit were also very popular. Later, in 19th century, came up tight corsets and pads of horsehair. Wide ruffles were also taken to it. Women from lower classes used to wear bonnets instead of hats.
To sum up, living in 16th, 18th or 19th century must have been very difficult. People had to suffer through diseases and injustice. The hygiene was catastrophic and there were homeless people or thief on every step. I’m very glad that I live in 21st century and I don’t belong to any snobbish man!