Early Elizabethan England – How did England become involved in voyages of exploration?

During the Elizabethan era trade and exploration expanded rapidly.

Question 1

Listen to the video below from the start up to 8.42 minutes.
Answer the following questions.
Either write out the question followed by the answer OR write your answers in full sentences.
The questions are answered in order in the video. Remember to pause the video.

Click to reveal the answers.
1. What does SAT NAV stand for?
SAT NAV is a useful way to remember how England became involved in voyages of explorations.
2. What were Elizabethan ships called?
3. State three ways galleons (new ships) were better designed than previous models.
4. How did the new ships, galleons, offer protection?
5. How did the new sails, lateens, make ships better?
6. Define astrolabe
7. How did the astrolabe promote exploration?
8. How did improvements in the compass and maths help sailors?
9. Which invention allowed the English to learn from others?
10. State two ways maps made exploration easier.

S: Ships
A: Astrolabe
T: Technology
NAV: Navigation
2. Galleons
3. Bigger, stronger and more stable in rough seas.
4. Cannons on both sides of the ship.
5. More movable – could change direction quicker.
6. A new piece of equipment that enabled sailor to calculate the location of the ship more accurately.
7. Travel further away from land.
8. Know their precise location.
9. Printing press
10. Lines of latitude and longitude, more realistic and accurate, did not have to hand draw maps – they could be reproduce maps using the printing press.

Question 2

a) Rank the reasons why England came more involved in exploration from most significant to least.
Reasons: SAT NAV – Ships, astrolabe, technology, navigation
b) Explain your most important reason.
Why was it the most important factor? Challenge yourself to compare it to other factors.

GCSE style question

Describe two features that promoted exploration during the Elizabethan era. [4 marks]
Complete the table to produce a full mark answer.
The first row has been completed as an example. In an exam you would only ever detail two features.
Remember SAT NAV.

Key featureAnswer developed
Exploration was promoted by improvements in ship design; especially the creation of galleons. Galleons were bigger, stronger and more stable in rough seas that previous ships. They also offered more protection against pirates because they had cannons on both sides of the ship.
Developments in technology such as the printing press and compass also promoted exploration.
Maps became more realistic and accurate as they started to be reproduced using the printing press. The lines of latitude and longitude were also included making them more precise.

Well done you have completed your learning today

Want to learn more?
Grades 9 -7

Explore the British Library’s archives about exploration during the Elizabethan era.