Dubbed the "pirate queen" by the Vatican and Philip II of Spain, Elizabeth I was feared and admired by her enemies. Extravagant, whimsical, and hot-tempered, she was the epitome of power. Her visionary accomplishments were made possible by her daring merchants, gifted rapscallion adventurers, astronomer philosophers, and her stalwart Privy Council. All these men contributed their genius, power, greed, and expertise to the advancement of England. Historian Ronald offers a fresh look at Elizabeth I, focusing on her uncanny instinct for financial survival and the superior intellect that propelled and sustained her rise. The foundation of Elizabeth's empire was built on a carefully choreographed strategy whereby piracy transformed England from an impoverished state on the fringes of Europe into the first building block of an empire that ultimately covered two-fifths of the world.--From publisher description.