George Archer-Shee was a young Royal Navy cadet whose case of whether he stole a five shilling postal order was decided in Londons High Court in 1910. Archer-Shee was successfully defended against the charges by the barrister and politician. Following his acquittal, the family were paid compensation in July 1911. The trial, which became a British cause célèbre, was the inspiration for the play The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan which has twice been the basis of films. Archer-Shee was commissioned in the British Army in 1913, and killed aged 19 and he was the son of Martin Archer-Shee and his second wife Helen Treloar. His father was a banker and grandson of the painter Martin Archer Shee, Archer-Shee became a cadet at Osborne Naval College on the Isle of Wight in January 1908. The college, which was part of the estate of the late Queen Victoria, further studies continued at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in Devon. Osborne Naval College closed in April 1921, the theft occurred on 7 October 1908, shortly after the start of the autumn term, when a cadet called Terence Hugh Back received a postal order from a relative for five shillings.
On returning to the college, he discovered that Back had reported that his order had been stolen. Miss Tucker, the clerk at Osborne Post Office, was contacted. She produced Backs cashed postal order and stated that only two cadets had visited her that afternoon, however she claimed the same cadet who had bought a postal order for 15s 6d was the one who cashed the 5s order. The fathers reaction reflected the familys values and they were devout Roman Catholics and the background in banking meant all the sons had been brought up to regard misuse of money as sinful. Martin Archer-Shee contacted several lawyers to help clear his sons name and he contacted his son Major Martin Archer-Shee, the half brother of George, who was active in politics. Major Archer-Shee obtained the services of Sir Edward Carson, regarded as one of the United Kingdoms best barristers of the age, before he took the case, Carson subjected the boy to questioning to test his story, only accepting once he had satisfied himself of the boys innocence.
Several problems prevented Carson from taking the case straight to court, firstly as Archer-Shee was a naval cadet at the time, this excluded him from the jurisdiction of a civil court. Secondly as he was not enlisted in the Royal Navy, he was not entitled to a court-martial, in order to help his client, Carson used an archaic legal device called a petition of right against the Crown to bring the matter before the courts. The case eventually came to the High Court of Justice on 26 July 1910, the Solicitor-General, Sir Rufus Isaacs, appeared for the Crown and Carson, himself a former Solicitor-General, for Archer-Shee. Carsons opening remarks set the tone of the case, A boy 13 years old has been labelled and ticketed for all his life as a thief
John Brown (servant)
John Brown was a Scottish personal servant and favourite of Queen Victoria for many years. He was appreciated by many for his competence and companionship, and resented by others for his influence, the exact nature of his relationship with Victoria was the subject of great speculation by contemporaries, and continues to be controversial today. Brown had several brothers and a sister, three of whom entered the royal service. The most notable of these, Archibald Anderson Archie Brown, fifteen years Johns junior, eventually became personal valet to Victorias youngest son, Prince Leopold, Prince Alberts untimely death in 1861 was a shock from which some believe Queen Victoria never fully recovered. John Brown became a friend and supported the Queen. Victoria gave him gifts and created two medals for him, the Faithful Servant Medal and the Devoted Service Medal and she commissioned a portrait of him. Victorias children and ministers resented the high regard she had for Brown, harcourt served as Home Secretary in the final three years of Browns life.
While it is true that some widowed monarchs have contracted private marriages with their servants, perhaps the most compelling evidence of the depth of Victoria and Browns relationship comes from the pen of the Queen herself. Strength of character as well as power of frame – the most fearless uprightness, sense of justice, honesty and unselfishness combined with a tender, made him one of the most remarkable men. The Queen feels that life for the time is become most trying. The blow has fallen too heavily not to be very heavily felt, the phrase life for the second time relates to the death of her husband Prince Albert. The historian who discovered the letter believed that it suggested that Victoria, in her mind, equated Browns death with Alberts, whether Brown and Victoria were actual lovers, however, is not known. John Brown died at the age of 56 in Windsor Castle on 27 March 1883 and is buried in Crathie Kirkyard, in the plot to his parents. 1826 died at Windsor Castle 27th March 1883 and that Friend on whose fidelity you count/that Friend given to you by circumstances/over which you have no control/was God’s own gift.
Well done good and faithful servant/Thou hast been faithful over a few things, tony Rennells book Last Days of Glory, The Death of Queen Victoria reveals that Victoria had entrusted detailed instructions about her burial to her doctor, Sir James Reid. The photograph, wrapped in tissue paper, was placed in her left hand. She wore the ring on the finger of her right hand. The statues and private memorials that Victoria had created for Brown were destroyed at the order of her son, Edward VII, with whom Brown had often clashed, Queen Victoria commissioned a life-sized statue of Brown by Edgar Boehm shortly after his death
Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom
Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, VA CI GCVO GBE RRC GCStJ was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. King Felipe VI of Spain is her great-great-grandson, Beatrice was the last of Queen Victorias children to die,65 years after the first, her sister Alice. Beatrices childhood coincided with Queen Victorias grief following the death of her husband Albert, as her elder sisters married and left their mother, Queen Victoria came to rely on the company of her youngest daughter, whom she called Baby for most of her childhood. Beatrice was brought up to stay with her mother always and she resigned herself to her fate. Queen Victoria was so set against her youngest daughter marrying that she refused to discuss the possibility and she was attracted to the Prince Imperial and there was talk of a possible marriage, but he was killed in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. Beatrice fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg, the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julia von Hauke and brother-in-law of her niece Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine.
Queen Victoria consented on condition that Beatrice and Henry make their home with her, the Prince and Princess had four children, but 10 years into their marriage, on 20 January 1896, Prince Henry died of malaria while fighting in the Anglo-Asante War. Beatrice remained at her mothers side until Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901, Beatrice devoted the next 30 years to editing Queen Victorias journals as her designated literary executor and continued to make public appearances. She died at 87, outliving all her siblings, two of her children, and several nieces and nephews including George V and Wilhelm II, Beatrice was born at Buckingham Palace. She was the daughter and youngest of the nine children of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. The birth caused controversy when it was announced that Queen Victoria would seek relief from the pains of delivery through the use of chloroform administered by Dr John Snow, chloroform was considered dangerous to mother and child and was frowned upon by the Church of England and the medical authorities.
Queen Victoria was undeterred and used that blessed chloroform for her last pregnancy, a fortnight later, Queen Victoria reported in her journal, I was amply rewarded and forgot all I had gone through when I heard dearest Albert say Its a fine child, and a girl. She was christened in the chapel at Buckingham Palace on 16 June 1857. Her godparents were the Duchess of Kent, the Princess Royal, from birth, Beatrice became a favoured child. The elder favourite daughter of Prince Albert, the Princess Royal, was about to take up residence in Germany with her new husband, at the same time, the newly arrived Beatrice showed promise. Albert wrote to Augusta, Fritzs mother, that Baby practises her scales like a prima donna before a performance and has a good voice. Although Queen Victoria was known to dislike most babies, she liked Beatrice and this provided Beatrice with an advantage over her elder siblings. Queen Victoria once remarked that Beatrice was a pretty, with fine large blue eyes, pretty little mouth and very fine skin
Thomas Cubitt was an English master builder in the second quarter of the 19th century who mostly worked in London but carried out several projects in other parts of England. Cubitts first major building was the London Institution in Finsbury Circus, after this he worked primarily on speculative housing at Camden Town and especially at Highbury Park, Stoke Newington. His development of areas of Bloomsbury, including Gordon Square and Tavistock Square, began in 1820, notable amongst this development are the north and west sides of Eaton Square, which exemplify Cubitts style of building and design. After Cubitts workshops in Thames Bank were destroyed by fire, he remarked Tell the men they shall be at work within a week, Cubitt was responsible for the east front of Buckingham Palace. He built and personally funded nearly a kilometre of the Thames Embankment and he was employed in the large development of Kemp Town in Brighton, and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, completed in 1851. Cubitts public works included the provision of parks, including being an organiser of the Battersea Park Scheme.
Cubitt had two brothers, the contractor and politician William and the civil engineer Lewis who designed many of the built by Thomas. His son by his wife Mary Anne Warner, who was created Baron Ashcombe in 1892, was the great-great-grandfather of Camilla and he died in 1855 and was taken from Dorking for burial at West Norwood Cemetery on 27 December 1855. After his death, Queen Victoria said, In his sphere of life, with the business he had in hand. A better, kindhearted or more simple, unassuming man never breathed, another statue of Cubitt can be seen in Dorking, opposite the Dorking Halls, as he was favoured there for his architecture on his Denbies estate. In 1883 the business was acquired by Holland & Hannen, a competitor. Restaurants and other places have been named in honour of him
A listed building or listed structure, in the United Kingdom, is one that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The statutory bodies maintaining the list are Historic England in England, Cadw in Wales, Historic Scotland in Scotland, the preferred term in Ireland is protected structure. In England and Wales, an amenity society must be notified of any work to a listed building which involves any element of demolition. Owners of listed buildings are, in circumstances, compelled to repair and maintain them. When alterations are permitted, or when listed buildings are repaired or maintained, slightly different systems operate in each area of the United Kingdom, though the basic principles of the listing remain the same. It was the damage to caused by German bombing during World War II that prompted the first listing of buildings that were deemed to be of particular architectural merit. The listings were used as a means of determining whether a building should be rebuilt if it was damaged by bombing.
Listing was first introduced into Northern Ireland under the Planning Order 1972, the listing process has since developed slightly differently in each part of the UK. In the UK, the process of protecting the historic environment is called ‘designation’. A heritage asset is a part of the environment that is valued because of its historic. Only some of these are judged to be important enough to have legal protection through designation. However, buildings that are not formally listed but still judged as being of heritage interest are still regarded as being a consideration in the planning process. Almost anything can be listed – it does not have to be a building and structures of special historic interest come in a wide variety of forms and types, ranging from telephone boxes and road signs, to castles. Historic England has created twenty broad categories of structures, and published selection guides for each one to aid with assessing buildings and these include historical overviews and describe the special considerations for listing each category.
Both Historic Scotland and Cadw produce guidance for owners, in England, to have a building considered for listing or delisting, the process is to apply to the secretary of state, this can be done by submitting an application form online to Historic England. The applicant does not need to be the owner of the building to apply for it to be listed, full information including application form guidance notes are on the Historic England website. Historic England assesses buildings put forward for listing or delisting and provides advice to the Secretary of State on the architectural, the Secretary of State, who may seek additional advice from others, decides whether or not to list or delist the building. In England and Wales the authority for listing is granted to the Secretary of State by the Planning Act 1990, Listed buildings in danger of decay are listed on the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and it has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a residence for Queen Charlotte. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb during World War II, the original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque cream, many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House.
The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London, the state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring. In the Middle Ages, the site of the palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury. The marshy ground was watered by the river Tyburn, which flows below the courtyard. Where the river was fordable, the village of Eye Cross grew, ownership of the site changed hands many times, owners included Edward the Confessor and his queen consort Edith of Wessex in late Saxon times, after the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror. William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who bequeathed it to the monks of Westminster Abbey, in 1531, King Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James from Eton College, and in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from Westminster Abbey. These transfers brought the site of Buckingham Palace back into royal hands for the first time since William the Conqueror had given it away almost 500 years earlier, various owners leased it from royal landlords and the freehold was the subject of frenzied speculation during the 17th century.
By then, the old village of Eye Cross had long fallen into decay. Needing money, James I sold off part of the Crown freehold, clement Walker in Anarchia Anglicana refers to new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at S. Jamess, this suggests it may have been a place of debauchery. Eventually, in the late 17th century, the freehold was inherited from the property tycoon Sir Hugh Audley by the great heiress Mary Davies, possibly the first house erected within the site was that of a Sir William Blake, around 1624. The next owner was Lord Goring, who from 1633 extended Blakes house and he did not, obtain the freehold interest in the mulberry garden. Unbeknown to Goring, in 1640 the document failed to pass the Great Seal before King Charles I fled London and it was this critical omission that helped the British royal family regain the freehold under King George III. The improvident Goring defaulted on his rents, Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington obtained the mansion and was occupying it, now known as Goring House, Arlington House rose on the site—the location of the southern wing of todays palace—the next year
The Royal Navy is the United Kingdoms naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the medieval period. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century, from the middle decades of the 17th century and through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century it was the worlds most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War. The Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the world power during the 19th. Due to this historical prominence, it is common, even among non-Britons, following World War I, the Royal Navy was significantly reduced in size, although at the onset of the Second World War it was still the worlds largest. By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the worlds largest, during the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, mostly active in the GIUK gap.
The Royal Navy is part of Her Majestys Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the power in the 10th century. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Medieval fleets, in England as elsewhere, were almost entirely composed of merchant ships enlisted into service in time of war. Englands naval organisation was haphazard and the mobilisation of fleets when war broke out was slow, early in the war French plans for an invasion of England failed when Edward III of England destroyed the French fleet in the Battle of Sluys in 1340. Major fighting was confined to French soil and Englands naval capabilities sufficed to transport armies and supplies safely to their continental destinations. Such raids halted finally only with the occupation of northern France by Henry V.
Henry VII deserves a large share of credit in the establishment of a standing navy and he embarked on a program of building ships larger than heretofore. He invested in dockyards, and commissioned the oldest surviving dry dock in 1495 at Portsmouth, a standing Navy Royal, with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, emerged during the reign of Henry VIII. Under Elizabeth I England became involved in a war with Spain, the new regimes introduction of Navigation Acts, providing that all merchant shipping to and from England or her colonies should be carried out by English ships, led to war with the Dutch Republic. In the early stages of this First Anglo-Dutch War, the superiority of the large, heavily armed English ships was offset by superior Dutch tactical organisation and the fighting was inconclusive
The Solent is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England. The Solent is a shipping lane for passenger, freight. It is an important recreational area for sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually. Spithead, an area off Gilkicker Point near Gosport, is known as the place where the Royal Navy is traditionally reviewed by the monarch of the day, the area is of great ecological and landscape importance, particularly because of the coastal and estuarine habitats along its edge. Much of its coastline is designated as a Special Area of Conservation and it is bordered by and forms a part of the character of a number of nationally important protected landscapes including the New Forest National Park, and the Isle of Wight AONB. The word first appears in the Saxon record as Solentan, a pre-Celtic and supposedly Semitoidic root meaning free standing rock has been suggested as a possible description of the cliffs marking western approach of the strait.
This Semitic origin may be a relic of the Phoenician traders who sailed to Britain from the Mediterranean as part of the ancient tin trade, another suggestion is that the name may reflect the number of Northern Gannets along the coast. Originally a river valley, the Solent has gradually widened and deepened over many thousands of years, the River Frome was the source of the River Solent, with three other rivers — the Rivers Avon and Test — being tributaries of it. Seismic sounding has shown that, when the sea level was lower, since the retreat of the most recent glaciation the South East of England, like the Netherlands, has been steadily slowly sinking through historic time due to forebulge sinking. A new theory – that the Solent was originally a lagoon – was reported in the Southern Daily Echo by Garry Momber from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology. The Isle of Wight was formerly contiguous with the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset — the Needles on Wight, inland behind the Chalk were less resistant sands and gravels.
This great estuary ran through a valley and is now referred to as the Solent River. When glaciers covering more northern latitudes melted at the end of the last ice age, firstly, a great amount of flood water ran into the Solent River and its tributaries, carving the estuary deeper. Over thousands of years, the land sank in the south to submerge many valleys creating todays characteristic rias, such as Southampton Water and Poole Harbour and this is thought to have happened about 7,500 years ago. The process of change is still continuing, with the soft cliffs on some parts of the Solent, such as Fort Victoria, constantly eroding, whilst other parts. The Solent is a shallow stretch of tidal water. It has an unusual double tide that is favourable and hazardous to maritime activities with its strong tidal movements and quickly changing sea states. Coupled with the above, the Solent is renowned for its volume of vessel usage
Prince George, Duke of Kent
Prince George, Duke of Kent, KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO was the fourth son and fifth child of King George V and Queen Mary. He was the brother of Kings Edward VIII and George VI. He held the title of Duke of Kent from 1934 until his death in a military air-crash on 25 August 1942, Prince George was born on 20 December 1902 at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England. His father was George, Prince of Wales, the surviving son of King Edward VII. His mother was the Princess of Wales, the daughter of the Duke, at the time of his birth, he was fifth in the line of succession to the throne, behind his father and three older brothers. George was baptised in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 26 January 1903 by Francis Paget, Prince George received his early education from a tutor and followed his elder brother, Prince Henry, to St Peters Court, a preparatory school at Broadstairs, Kent. At the age of thirteen, like his brothers, the Prince of Wales and Prince Albert, before him, he went to college, first at Osborne and, later.
He remained in the Royal Navy until March 1929, serving on HMS Iron Duke, after leaving the navy, he briefly held posts at the Foreign Office and the Home Office, becoming the first member of the royal family to work as a civil servant. From January to April 1931 Prince George and his brother the Prince of Wales travelled 18,000 miles on a tour of South America. Their outward voyage was on the ocean liner Oropesa, in Buenos Aires they opened a British Empire Exhibition. They continued from the River Plate to Rio de Janeiro on the liner Alcantara and returned from Brazil to Europe on the liner Arlanza, the princes returned via Paris and an Imperial Airways flight from Paris–Le Bourget Airport that landed specially in Windsor Great Park. In October 1938 George was appointed Governor General of Australia in succession to Lord Gowrie with effect from November 1939, on 11 September 1939 it was announced that, owing to the outbreak of the Second World War, the appointment was postponed. At the start of the Second World War, George returned to military service in the rank of rear admiral.
In April 1940, he transferred to the Royal Air Force and he temporarily relinquished his rank as air vice-marshal to assume the post of staff officer at RAF Training Command in the rank of group captain. On 12 October 1934, in anticipation of his marriage to his second cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark he was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St Andrews. The couple married on 29 November 1934 at Westminster Abbey and they had three children, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy Prince Michael of Kent Both before and after his marriage, the better known of his lovers included banking heiress Poppy Baring, socialite Margaret Whigham, and Barbara Cartland. There were strong rumours that he had affairs with musical star Jessie Matthews and Noël Coward, Prince George shared Kiki in a ménage à trois with Jorge Ferrara, the bisexual son of the Argentinian ambassador to Britain
Pangbourne College is a co-educational independent day and boarding school located in the civil parish of Pangbourne, in the English county of Berkshire. It is set in 230 acres, on a hill south-west of the village, the college was founded by Sir Thomas Lane Devitt Bt. in 1917 as The Nautical College, Pangbourne with the purpose of training boys to become Merchant Navy officers. It became Pangbourne College in 1969 and while conforming to the lines of a British independent boarding school, retains a distinctly nautical flavour. The college was founded by Sir Thomas Lane Devitt, 1st Baronet in 1917 as The Nautical College, Pangbourne, on the site occupied by Clayesmore School. At the time of founding the German campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare was at its height, and this was one reason for a nautical training school to be sited inland. These last two institutions closed in 1968 and 1974 respectively as the number of men seeking a career at sea declined. This saw a shift in emphasis to an academic programme.
Directors of studies were replaced by the post of second master, the fourth, and current, Thomas Garnier, served in the Royal Navy before switching to a career in teaching. He taught physics and was a housemaster before becoming headmaster in 2005, originally catering to about 200 male cadets bound largely for service in the Merchant and Royal Navies, the school now has approximately 400 co-educational pupils, both day and boarding. For most of its history, the college numbered on average around 200 cadets in any given year, recently numbers have expanded to an average complement of around 400, due in part to the college becoming co-educational in 1996 and opening a junior house. A number of traditions are maintained. The college holds a parade every third Sunday, culminating on Founders Day with the ceremony of beat the retreat. While the title of cadet for pupils has fallen into disuse, pupils continue to wear uniform on a daily basis. College argot reflects the traditions, with cabins instead of study bedrooms, gunrooms instead of pupil common rooms, galleys instead of kitchens. A focus on sports, including rowing and sailing, remains a legacy of a nautical past.
Pangbourne takes students with a range of abilities, the majority of whom enter via common entrance. Subjects are taught at both GCSE and A-level, the Good Schools Guide describes Pangbourne as a modern and successful school which concentrates on bringing the best out of each pupil. The college has a culture with sixty per-cent of the pupils within the school
Rudolf Swoboda the younger was a 19th-century Austrian painter, born in Vienna. He studied under Leopold Carl Müller, and voyaged with him to Egypt in 1880 and his sister was the portrait painter Josefine Swoboda, well-known for her portraits of the British royal family. In 1886, Queen Victoria commissioned Swoboda to paint several of a group of Indian artisans who had brought to Windsor as part of the Golden Jubilee preparations. Victoria liked the paintings so much that she paid Swobodas way to India to paint more of her Indian subjects. Swoboda painted many of the people of India in a grouping of small paintings which resulted. While in India, he stayed, part of the time, with John Lockwood Kipling, the younger Kipling was unimpressed with Swoboda, writing to a friend about two Austrian maniacs who thought they were almighty artists aiming to embrace the whole blazing East. Upon his return from India, he painted two portraits of Abdul Karim, Victorias favorite Indian servant. Most of these Indian paintings hang at Osborne House, once Victorias residence on the Isle of Wight
The term Renaissance is in essence a modern one that came into currency in the 19th century, in the work of historians such as Jules Michelet and Jacob Burckhardt. The French word renaissance means Rebirth, and the era is best known for the renewed interest in the culture of classical antiquity after the period that Renaissance humanists labeled the Dark Ages. Though today perhaps best known for Italian Renaissance art and architecture, the period saw major achievements in literature, philosophy, Italy became the recognized European leader in all these areas by the late 15th century, and to varying degrees retained this lead until about 1600. This was despite a turbulent and generally disastrous period in Italian politics, the European Renaissance began in Tuscany, and centred in the city of Florence. It spread to Venice, where the remains of ancient Greek culture were brought together, the Renaissance had a significant effect on Rome, which was ornamented with some structures in the new allantico mode, was largely rebuilt by humanist sixteenth-century popes.
The Italian Renaissance peaked in the century as foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of the Italian Wars. However, the ideas and ideals of the Renaissance endured and spread into the rest of Europe, setting off the Northern Renaissance, the Italian Renaissance is best known for its cultural achievements. Accounts of Renaissance literature usually begin with Petrarch and his friend, famous vernacular poets of the 15th century include the renaissance epic authors Luigi Pulci, Matteo Maria Boiardo, and Ludovico Ariosto. 15th century writers such as the poet Poliziano and the Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino made extensive translations from both Latin and Greek, the same is true for architecture, as practiced by Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Palladio, and Bramante. Their works include Florence Cathedral, St. Peters Basilica in Rome, yet cultural contributions notwithstanding, some present-day historians see the era as one of the beginning of economic regression for Italy.
By the Late Middle Ages, the heartland of the Roman Empire. Rome was a city of ancient ruins, and the Papal States were loosely administered, and vulnerable to external interference such as that of France, and Spain. The Papacy was affronted when the Avignon Papacy was created in southern France as a consequence of pressure from King Philip the Fair of France, in the south, Sicily had for some time been under foreign domination, by the Arabs and the Normans. Sicily had prospered for 150 years during the Emirate of Sicily, in contrast Northern and Central Italy had become far more prosperous, and it has been calculated that the region was among the richest of Europe. The Crusades had built lasting trade links to the Levant, the main trade routes from the east passed through the Byzantine Empire or the Arab lands and onwards to the ports of Genoa and Venice. Luxury goods bought in the Levant, such as spices, moreover, the inland city-states profited from the rich agricultural land of the Po valley.
From France and the Low Countries, through the medium of the Champagne fairs and river trade routes brought goods such as wool and precious metals into the region. The extensive trade that stretched from Egypt to the Baltic generated substantial surpluses that allowed significant investment in mining, while northern Italy was not richer in resources than many other parts of Europe, the level of development, stimulated by trade, allowed it to prosper