TUDOR E STUART: RIASSUNTO
The Tudors and the Stuarts
Henry VII, who came to the English throne, was the first king of the Tudor dynasty.
Henry VIII succedeed his father; the main event during his reign was the Reformation. The religious revolution arose from Henry’s quarrel with the Pope. Henry had been married by special dispensation to Catherine of Aragon, who some years later had guven him a daughter, Mary, but was now unlikely to bear him a son. He had fallen in love with Anne Boleyn and asked the Pope for a divoirce. When it was clear that the Pope would not the clear his first marriage invalid, Henry broke with Rome and declared himself “Supreme Head of the Church”in England. The social charities such as schools and hospitals for the poor mostly disappeared. In 1536, Anne Boleyn, who had given Henry VIII a daughter, Elizabeth, was executed, and the king remarried four more times.
During the short reign of her half-brother Edward VI Mary I lived in retirement and refused to conform to the new religion, since she was a devout Catholic. When she became Queen in 1553 she repealed anticatholic legislation and revived catholic practices. Her unpopular marriage to Philip II of Spain was followed by the persecution of 300 protestants, wich earned her the name of “Bloody Mary”.
Queen Elizabeth I
In 1558 Elizabeth became queen of a divided nation, the majority of wich was anticatholic and antispanish. Elizabeth brougth unity and defeated England’s enemies at home and abroad. Elizabeth ruled wisely through her Privy Council of about 20 members, great nobles and career officials, she moved round her country on royal journeys, staying with the principal noblement, so that a great deal of her people could see her. Her court was brilliant, and poets, musicians and actors were anxious to entertain and on honour her. The Queen was unmarried and used this as political weapon, encouraging the hopes of European princes with whom it was important to keep good terms.
The defeat of the Spanish Armada
Elizabeth recognised Spain as her main trade rival and enemy. At first open war was avoided and explorations and overseas trade expanded, making England a commercial and seafaring power. English sea-captains were secretly euncouraged by the queen, who took a shareof the profits. In 1588 the war against Spain started: 130 Spanish galleons appeared in the English Channel, they were slow and heavy, while the English ships were lower, faster and armed with long-range guns. However, the Spanish Armada was also defeated thanks to the help of bad weather.