22 de agosto de 2011



The Tudor Period started with king Henry VII and finished with Queen Elizabeth I. This period was especially important in England because of the religious Reformation that took place.

This king eliminated the influence of the feudal classes, and the importance of noblemen decreased. He stimulated overseas trade and promoted voyages like John Cabot's one to America in 1497. England was then a country respected abroad and a wealthy kingdom as well.
Henry had two sons, Arthur and Henry, and a daughter, Margaret. His son Henry VIII succeeded him.

When Henry VIII came to the throne, the atmosphere was strong and firm. Henry married his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon. They had a daughter, Mary, but England needed a male heir, so Henry decided to divorce Catherine. But Catherine was the aunt of the Emperor of Rome, so it was unlikely that the Pope would help Henry to get the divorce.

In Europe Martin Luther's doctrine about the reformation of the church was achieving great popularity, but the Pope condemned it. In England, Luther's ideas were not very popular but the Church was not popular either because of its wealth. Henry VIII took advantage of this and produced Reformation in England. He appointed himself "Supreme Head of the English Church" by the Act of Supremacy in 1534 and England became Protestant. The Lord Chancellor, Thomas More, did not recognise the king as Head of the Church and was executed. Archbishop Cranmer considered Henry's marriage to Catherine invalid and Henry married five more times. His wives were Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. Jane Seymour gave him a son, Edward. Henry VIII died in 1547.

Edward VI
He came to the throne when he was only 9, and the Duke of Somerset was the man who really ruled the country. He wanted Edward to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, but the Scottish regent sent her to France and once there, she married the French prince (the future king Francis II). The situation in England was not very good: there was unemployment and the prices were very high. Edward died of smallpox in 1553, at the age of 16. His sister Mary ascended to the throne.

Mary was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and the first woman to be queen in England. Mary was Catholic and she quickly dismissed all Protestant bishops from their sees. Under her reign, England became Catholic again. In July 1554 Mary married the Spanish king, Phillip II, in Winchester Cathedral. In 1555 Mary's persecution of Protestants started; she burnt hundreds of them and people so called her Bloody Mary because of this. In November 1558 she died. Her sister Elizabeth became queen.

Elizabeth was the daughter that Henry VIII had with Anne Boleyn. The first thing Elizabeth did when she became queen was to settle religious affairs. She reestablished the Church of England and the country became Protestant again (as it remains nowadays). During her reign the commercial relationships with the Spanish colonies in America and with the West Indies improved. This is the time when Sir Walter Raleigh founded the colony of Virginia and introduced tobacco into England.
But Elizabeth had to face several problems, too: The relationship between Spain and England was not very good at the time. Finally, they were at war and Elizabeth sent Francis Drake to fight the Spanish Armada, which he defeated in 1588.
In 1603, Elizabeth I died.

 Mary Stuart, who was in France, claimed the English throne because she was great-granddaughter of Henry VII. Meanwhile Elizabeth helped the anti-French elements in Scotland, so when Mary returned to Scotland the situation was horrible and she escaped to England some years later. Once there, she was accused of conspiracy to kill Elizabeth; the Parliament sentenced her to death in 1587.

Reading comprehension

1. Answer these questions in your own words.

. What was the most important change that England underwent in the Tudor period?
· Why did Henry VIII want to divorce Catherine of Aragon?
· What did Henry finally do to get the divorce?
· Do you think Henry VIII was a tolerant man? Why? / Why not?
· Why didn't Edward VI marry Mary, Queen of Scots?
· Did Mary I respect the ideas of the Protestants? Support your answer.
· What positive effects for commerce did Elizabeth's reign have?
· What problems did Elizabeth I have with Mary Stuart (or Mary, Queen of Scots)?

2. Complete these sentences by choosing the right answer. Do it without looking at the text.
1 Henry VII eliminated the influence of..............
  •  the clergymen and bishops.
  •  the feudal classes and noblemen.

2 The Church of England was so unpopular.
  •    because of Luther's doctrine.
  •    because of its wealth.
3 Henry VIII married …
  •    six times.
  •    five times.
4 Thomas More was executed because
  •    he did not recognise Henry VIII as Head of the Church.
  •    he didn't want Henry VIII to divorce Catherine.
5 Mary Stuart married
  •    Philip II of Spain.
  •    Francis II of France.

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