In the last quarter of the sixteenth century England embarked on a strategic rapprochement with the Ottoman Empire. Elizabeth I's excommunication by Pope Pius V in 1570 removed the papal levies for trading with the ‘infidel’, opening up commercial opportunities. England also explored the possibility of calling upon Ottoman military might to support her against the Catholic powers of mainland Europe. One product of this East–West engagement is a remarkable correspondence and exchange of gifts between Elizabeth and the sultana, Walide Safiye. Although the Anglo-Ottoman political accord failed, the exchanges between Elizabeth and the sultana set the tone for England's subsequent trading position in the East.
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