Elizabethan society is arguably the most successful in English history. The adventurers and merchants (as well as the poets and playwrights) of that age are legendary. The subject of this classic study by A.L. Rowse is that society's 'expansion'. Elizabethan society expanded both physically (first into Cornwall, then Ireland, then across the oceans to first contact with Russian, the Canadian North and then the opening up of trade with India and the Far East) and in terms of ideas and influence on international affairs. Rowse argues that in the Elizabethan age we see the beginning of England's huge impact upon the world.