Elizabeth I (September 7, 1533 - March 24, 1603) was Queen of England (reigned November 17, 1558 - March 24, 1603) and the last Tudor ruler. Elizabeth, sometimes called "The Virgin Queen", ruled a religiously divided England at the end of the 16th century. She is often considered one of the greatest British monarchs as she presided over an immense flourishing of culture and economics, and has been voted the "greatest Briton" of all time. The period of her reign is now known as the Elizabethan era of British history.
For more on Elizabeth see http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_I_of_England. The Elizabethan Wiki provides an excellent resource on this period.
This period, the Elizabethan era, was an important one for the development of English culture. Literature, particularly poetry and drama, enjoyed a golden age; and exploration of other continents, including the Americas, began in earnest. Indeed, the queen herself became noted as a poet and classical translator, personally writing the first English translation of Horace's Art of Poetry.