England – Early Modern Era
By Amelia Meyer
The Early Modern Era of England began during the reign of the Tudors. Italian members of the court introduced higher levels of art, education and schooling, bringing the Renaissance to England. This caused a general development of the country’s culture. It was during this time that England began to develop its naval abilities which, in turn, meant that they could now explore further than ever before. This exploration was prompted by the Ottoman Empire, which controlled the Mediterranean Sea, preventing trade with the East for all of the Christian states of Europe.
In 1534, King Henry VIII broke the rules when he disassociated himself from the Catholic Church because of issues relating to the divorcing of one’s spouse. At that stage, the Act of Supremacy held that the King was automatically the head of the Church of England.
King Henry VIII of England reigned from 1509 to 1547. One of the most famous monarchs of England, he launched of the English Reformation and broke with the Church in Rome, creating the Church of England. He had six wives including Anne Bole
However, when his daughter, Mary I, ruled, she attempted to bring Catholicism back to the country. She was followed by her sister, Elizabeth I, who again broke away from it and enforced the supremacy of Anglicanism. King Henry VIII also amalgamated Wales into the Kingdom of England because this was the land of his ancestors.
While Queen Elizabeth I was in power, Sir Francis Drake (an English sea captain) defeated the Spanish Armada. England went on to found a colony in the Americas under Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585. This colony was named Virginia. At this time, England was competing with Spain for American territory.In addition, England was competing with France and Holland for territory in the east, where spices and textiles were to be found in abundance. All of this exploration and discovery was enabled by the development of the naval industry during this time. ??
The English Civil War was between the Parliamentary supporters and those who supported King Charles I. However, this war was only part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, in which England, Scotland and Ireland were involved. The Parliament supporters won this civil war, which led to a Commonwealth after Charles I was executed. Oliver Cromwell was the leader of the forces under Parliament, and promptly declared himself Lord Protector in 1653. When he died, his son took over this position, but resigned shortly thereafter. This led to Charles II’s being invited back to be king with the Restoration. This led to the constitution being settled upon that the King and Parliament should always rule together
The Early Modern Era was also the time in which the Great Fire of London roared through the country’s capital, decimating it. This occurred in 1666 and led to the complete rebuilding of London.
At this time, there were a number of different groups. The Tories were royalists, the Whigs were liberal and the Jacobites supported King James and his sons. The Tories supported King James II (a Catholic), who the Whigs killed in the Revolution of 1688. The Whigs then invited Prince William III (from Holland) to become the king. Then, England and Scotland agreed to unite, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. Some institutions remained separate, so that both countries were suitably accommodated.