1. Ancient people on the territory of the British Isles. The Celts
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Henry VIII followed the advice his father had given him on his deathbed. He married the widow of his elder brother, Catherine of Aragon. Henry had inherited a full Treasury and was open-handed; there were many banquets, masques, dances and tournaments.
He wished, in fact, to revive the Hundred Years' War. He entered into an alliance with King Ferdinand of Spain. Whereas his father had avoided war to save money, Henry and his allies were eager for confrontation. In 1513, Henry led a victorious campaign against the French; in retaliation the Scots declared war on England. Henry's forces repelled the Scots at the Battle of Flodden Field where the King of Scotland James IV was killed.
For the next decade, Henry VIII attempted to act as a mediator between France and Spain, playing the countries against each other in hope of gaining power in Europe. Despite his earlier military victory, Henry's subsequent diplomatic efforts and military campaigns were fruitless. In 1520, he met with Francis I of France9 at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in France. This event of entertainment and personal diplomacy failed to prevent another round of fighting among the European powers. Henry's wars emptied his treasury, and his efforts to raise taxes led to rioting (бунты) among the subjects.
Henry's first minister was Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey's supremacy over the Church left it weaker and less able to face the attack, which would soon be mounted against it. Wolsey did not give the Church either reform or uniformity and his personal extravagance and worldliness were a vivid example of the corruption rife in the Church. Wolsey's immense energy and talent were mainly consumed by foreign affairs. He cherished the ambition of becoming pope and bent English foreign policy to his unrealistic end. Wolsey failed to find a solution to the supreme crisis of the reign, when in 1525 the king decided to divorce his queen. The queen was 40 and she had only one child, Princess Mary, born in 1516. Henry considered it essential to have a son to succeed him, fearing that a female succession would bring the return of civil war. After the divorce Henry hoped to marry Anne Boleyn.
The king argued that his marriage to Catherine was unlawful, as the Bible forbade the marriage of a man to his brother's widow. Henry sent Wolsey to Rome to present the English case before the papacy, and when this failed Wolsey was forced from power. Wolsey was stripped of all his offices of state and allowed to keep only one of his many former ecclesiastical offices. In 1529, Henry had Wolsey charged with treason, and if he had not died on his way to London, Wolsey would almost certainly have been executed. He was replaced by Sir Thomas More. Henry's diplomatic efforts to secure a divorce failed, and he turned to a policy of force against the Church, which ended in a complete break with Rome. The enormous task of carrying out the Reformation in England was accomplished by Thomas Cromwell, who had become one of the most powerful of the king's ministers. He arranged for Parliament (which sat from 1529 until 1536 and is called the 'Reformation Parliament') to pass statutes which swept away the power of the papacy in England and vested it in the Crown instead. The Reformation of the 16th century was a movement within Western Christendom to purge the church of medieval abuses and to restore the doctrines and practices that the reformers believed conformed with the Bible and the New Testament model of the Church. This led to a breach between the Roman Catholic Church and the reformers whose beliefs and practices came to be called Protestantism. Although England had a religious reform movement influenced by Lutheran ideas, the English Reformation occurred as a direct result of King Henry VIII's efforts to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The formal break with the papacy was masterminded by Thomas Cromwell, the king's chief minister. Under Cromwell's direction Parliament passed the Act in Restraint of Appeals (to Rome; 1533), followed by the Act of Supremacy (1534) fully defining the royal headship over the church. As Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer annulled Henry's marriage to Catherine, allowing the king to marry Anne Boleyn. Although Henry himself wished to make no doctrinal changes, Cromwell and Cranmer authorized the translation of the Bible into English, and Cranmer was largely responsible for the Book of Common Prayer, adopted under Henry's successor, Edward VI.
Cromwell nationalized the monastic lands and was a moving force in the creation of the bureaucracy which was needed to manage the revenues now at the monarchy's disposal. Cromwell's actions resulted in a great strengthening of the House of Commons, which was asked to endorse not only one of the greatest religious changes in English national life but also a new succession to the crown.
In 1532, Thomas Cranmer became the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a man of great learning, who aimed at Church reform and showed complete devotion to Henry VIII. In January 1533, he married Henry and Anne Boleyn and in May he pronounced Henry's marriage to Catherine null. On 1 June, he crowned Anne Queen of England. But the king was bitterly disappointed at the birth, in September 1533, of the long-awaited child, Princess Elizabeth. Henry treated mother and child coldly; it was not for another daughter that he had broken with Rome and made Anne his Queen, but the child was healthy and he hoped the son would follow. To distract himself he took immense personal interest in the legislation Cromwell was devising to make him supreme in his own domain and to make government more efficient there was brought about an administrative revolution to modernise the workings of the old medieval departments of state while the Reformation Parliament was still in session.
In response to Henry divorcing Catherine, the pope excommunicated the king and, by extension, the nation. Although this had little effect on the king, it displeased practicing Catholics. Following the break with Rome, Henry and Cromwell undertook a reorganisation of Church and State. Henry was declared supreme head of the Church of England in 1534, and all the payments normally made to the pope now went to the Crown. In 1536, a second Act of Succession allowed Henry an unprecedented freedom: to name his own heir. Parliament altered the succession to exclude Princess Mary in favour of the children of Anne Boleyn, in hope a boy would be born. The Bible was translated into English, priests were allowed to marry, and the shrines of saints were destroyed. Henry's own religious beliefs remained Catholic, despite the growing number of people at court and in the nation who had adopted Protestantism.
In 1534, Cromwell began a wholesale confiscation of the enormous wealth of the Catholic Church, estimated at three times that of the Crown. A survey of the buildings, lands, and possessions of the English religious houses was completed in 1535, and thereafter Parliament began passing laws dissolving these Catholic groups, a process that had been completed by 1540. 1534 saw also the abolition of the pope's right to tax the English Church. By 1559, the monasteries had ceased to exist. The Crown took possession of all the Church's property, paying small pensions to approximately 10,000 monks and nuns who were deprived of their homes. Others, who had opposed Henry, had been executed. The monastic lands were distributed to the nobility, or important gentry. Buildings were destroyed and their treasures distributed to Henry's supporters. Thus, the monastic system, which had served a useful purpose for 1,000 years, disappeared.
Thomas Cromwell reformed the financial administration of England and established six courts, or departments, each responsible for collecting a particular sort of revenue. Cromwell chose to be Principal Secretary rather than Chancellor. He elevated the secretaryship to new importance in government, which position was retained until the 19th century. He made the privy council the greatest of the king's councils. It became the centre of government under the Tudors and the Stuarts later developed into the modern Cabinet. Cromwell's reports laid the foundation of the machinery of government of the modern state. In 1536, a serious rebellion, known as the Pillgrimage of Grace, occurred in the northern countries. The rebellion combined economic grievances with the attachment to the institutions of the catholic Church. It represented the most serious threat to Henry's reign, although it was ultimately quelled. By 1536, Henry had been tired of Anne Boleyn. In less a month with the help of Cromwell she was accused of adultery, executed and replaced by Jane Seymour. She provided Henry with his male heir, the future Edward VI, although die died in childbirth. Henry's three next marriages occurred in rapid succession. He married Anne of Cleves but divorced her after only six months — Henry's displeasure with Cromwell over this match led to Cromwell's execution. Henry then married Catherine Howard and finally settled down with Catherine Parr, the wife who survived him.
As Henry aged he became bitter and angry. One by one he had either killed his old councillors or driven them from the royal service. In 1542, he again entered into continental warfare, joining Emperor Charles V in his war against France. The same year the Scots invaded England and were defeated at Solway Moss where the Scottish king James V was mortally wounded. James's death freed England from the threat of invasion for the next generation.
Henry ended his reign with the reputation of a tyrant. But the power of the crown had been considerably strengthened by Henry's ecclesiastical policy, and the monastic confiscations gave impetus to the rise of a new nobility which was to become influential in succeeding reigns. He died on 28 January, 1547, at Whitehall and was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor.
13. Elizabeth I and her reign. The Anglo-Spanish rivalry. The Renaissance in Britain.
The reign is called “the Golden Age” of British history. Elizabeth was slender eith red hair and pale eyes, a hooked nose and long white hands. Like her father she was gifted for music and other arts. She was an outstanding orator and mastered Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish. In English she wrote beautiful poetry. In manner she was blunt and given to bold gests. She did unexpected things, became extinguished for her intelligence and courage, self-confidence and political picnic of postponing but also for her vanity and thrift. She had 3,000 dresses but never gave one away, her flirtations with suitors scandalized her ministers until they realized that under her recklessness outboard her head was coll. She was preoccupied with the interests of her country used her single state as weapon. She gained love and loyalty of people who admired her little tricks almost as much as her statesmanship. She could swear at bishops, throw her slippers in the hands of diplomats, boxed the earl of Essex, chose to dance all night long to avoid to give a definite answer to Spanish king about marriage. Her nicknames: “Henry’s daughter”, “Good Queen Bess”, “Virgin Queen”, “Gloriana”. When Elizabeth became queen in November 1558 she inherited the problem of Catholic-Protestant struggle. Queen Mary started war with France and one year before her death Mary’s prosecution of protestants had done much damage to the Catholicism in England and the number of protestants was steadily increasing. Struggling protestants in Scotland, France and the Netherlands were waiting for England’s support. They believed that she would restore the protestant faith in England and would help them in their fight but England’s economy was poor. There wasn’t enough money even for a cost of government. Elizabeth ended the war with France but secretly sent money and weapons to foreign protestants. Although Elizabeth was raised a protestant her religious views were remarkable tolerant. She believed sincerely in her own faith but she also believed that Catholics and protestants were both parts of the same religion. Elizabeth looked for peaceful ways of solving of protestant-catholic problem. She signed several laws called “the religious settlement of 1559”. The main law was the renewed Act of Supremacy which Mary abolished during her reign. This act once again proclaimed that the church of England was independent of Rome. The Act of Supremacy approved a new prayer book and enforced its use. Alongside with the Bible it taught that rebellion against the Crown was a sin against God, the unit of state administration became the parish and the parish priest (the parson/vicar) became rather influential in the village life. People had to go to shurch on Sundays and they were fined if they stayed away. Elizabeth made sure that the church stayed under her control. The kind of Protestantism agreed in 1559 remained closer to the Catholic religion than other protestant groups. One of the problems Elizabeth faced was a danger from Scotland where ruled Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots), a Catholic, Elizabeth’s cousin and the closer relative (1542-1587). Mary Stuart spent her childhood in France, her mother was French. She became queen soon after her birth but didn’t reign until 1561 when her young husband Francis II (French king) died after they had lived for a year. She had to return to Scotland. Those who considered the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn to have been unlawful named her as queen of England and she participated in a number of plots aiming at this. Then she made enemies both among her nobles and protestants and her 2 unsuccessful marriages made the situation more difficult.
14. Crown and Parliament. The Civil War of 1642-1646. Republican Britain.
In English history the struggle between King and Parliament went back to the 12th century. The attempts of the Tudors were aimed at making the government of England 'a personal monarchy' of the continental type.
James I (1566-1625) inherited the kingdom at the age of 37, in 1603. He installed himself as rapidly as possible, and in the 22 years of his English reign, made only one short return to Scotland. He did want to form a united kingdom, but Parliament saw little prospect benefit in this union, and believed that the Union of the Crowns ended the old threat from the north.
James's court was large and ceremonious. The king was well-educated and intelligent, and sustained cultural tradition of the Elizabethan age. He wrote a book, 'The Gift of Kingship', in which he expressed his views on the government of the country. James's view was that a king ruled by divine right, and that to oppose his will was a sin in God's eyes as well as offence against the state. The Parliament could hardly fit into this scheme. The Parliament developed a growing range of interest, authority and self-confidence, as with the growth of wealth, the economy of England became one of the most advanced and complex in Europe. James's relations with Parliament worsened after the Gunpowder Plot, which made him suspicious and drove closer to his advisors and favorites.
The Gunpowder Plot was the Catholic conspiracy to blow up James I and his Parliament at the Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605. The conspirators stored 35 barrels of gunpowder directly beneath the House of Lords. Through a letter of warning written to one of the peers, the plot was discovered. The originator was Robert Catesby, who took into his confidence his cousin Thomas Winter, and his friends Thomas Percy, John Wright and Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was arrested in the cellar under the Palace of Westminster, ready to fire a store of explosives. He was examined under torture on the rack, confessed his own guilt and revealed the names of his associated, nearly all of whom were killed during the arrest or hanged along with Fawkes on 31 January 1606. In general, the reign of James I saw the growth of political stability and economy. Ulster ended its rebellion against the crown and accepted Protestant settlers. James invited Dutch experts for the work on reclamation of swampy land. Their dykes and ditches began to turn East Anglia into arable land. Some extreme Protestants, dissatisfied with religious attitudes, after the initial move to Protestant Holland, set off for the young colonies in America, on a ship Mayflower, in 1620.
In the reign of Charles I (1625-49) the struggle between Crown and Parliament reached its climax. Charles I was the second son of James I. He was born on November 19, 1600, in Scotland. He was educated by a Scottish Presbyterian tutor, mastered Latin and Greek and showed abilities in modern languages. Charles became the Prince of Wales in 1616, after his elder brother Henry had died in 1612. On March 27, 1625 he ascended the throne and was crowned on February 2, 1626. Like his father, Charles believed in the Divine Right of Kings. He was full of desire to strengthen his power and needed money for this purpose and on wars. England was involved in a war with Spain, and later Charles declared war on France. Neither war succeeded and the financial situation was difficult. When Charles asked Parliament for money, the latter demanded impeachment of the king's main advisor, the Duke of Buckingham. Charles dissolved the body in 1626 but was forced to call it again in 1628, because it was usual for Parliament to vote the sovereign money for life in the form of customs and duties. Nevertheless, in addition Charles began to set his own taxes and duties, which Parliament considered to be illegal.
In 1628 the Parliament, discontent with the monarch's policy, compelled the King to sign the Petition of Right, which stated that the king should govern according to law, and not according to his own arbitrary whim. Soon after Buckingham was assassinated by a Puritan fanatic, and this altered Charles's policies. Charles blamed Buckingham's death on the attacks in Parliament, where there were heated debates against the king and his favorite's taxation and church policies.
Having granted the Petition of Right, Charles I soon forgot about its existence and continued with his old arbitrary practices. When Parliament protested against these actions Charles I dissolved Parliament and imprisoned its leaders. There was no Parliament in the country for the next 11 years. These were the years of his personal rule. He resorted to compulsory loans and fines, sold monopolies, imposed heavy customs, duties and fees. One of the taxes became 'ship money' - a direct payment intended to develop the royal navy.
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