Historically, the Tudor period was the tumultuous period that played a vital role in shaping modern Britain. The beginning of this reign successfully marked an end to the civil war in England. The country witnessed an era of economic prosperity and the rise of mercantile class.
Not only the monarchs, but also the politicians, statesmen, poets, philosophers and playwrights changed the face of England. In English history, the Tudor period consisted of many colorful and prominent characters some of which are as follows.
Having defeated Richard III, Henry Tudor founded the dynasty that arguably contains the most popular figures in royal history. Henry secured his position in the throne by marrying Elizabeth of York. During his reign, Henry did his best to strengthen the tense relations at home as well as abroad.
In order to maintain peace, he even married his thirteen years old daughter Margaret to the king of Scots, while his eldest son Arthur married the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon. Due to the premature death of his elder son Arthur, the throne was taken by his younger son Henry VIII.
According to the historians, Henry VIII was one of the most important monarchs that ruled English and Wales. During his four decades of supremacy, Henry VIII presided over the foundation of the Church of England and the remodeling of the government.
Furthermore, he incorporated Wales into English administration, established the kingdom of Ireland and supervised the construction of numerous palaces, colleges and fortresses. The credit of establishing the British navy also goes to Henry VIII. He was however notorious for having married six times and executing two of his wives.
Edward was the youngest of all the kings of Tudor era who ascended the throne at the age of only nine. His father Henry VIII had initially broken the link between Rome and English Church, yet the country was divided by religion.
Edward disapproved his elder sister Mary’s Catholicism and he sought to assert Protestantism. However, the young king died at the age of only fifteen. It is believed that Edward would have been a great king if he had survived into old age.
Just before his death, Edward VI devised the crown to Lady Jane Grey who was the descendant of the younger sister of Henry VIII.
Nevertheless, this succession was met with popular disapproval as majority wanted the true heir, Mary, the half sister of Edward. After nine days, Jane, the sixteen-year-old young queen along with her closest allies was imprisoned and executed in the Tower.
Also known as Mary Tudor, this queen is best remembered for undoing the works of her half-brother particularly returning England back to Roman Catholicism. To this end, she almost executed three hundred dissenters most of whom were burned at stake.
Due to this act, the Queen was also known as Bloody Mary. During her reign, she suffered from many phantom pregnancies due to her weak health and thus couldn’t produce any heir. Mary died due to cancer at the age of forty-two and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I.
Elizabeth was the queen of England as well as Ireland from 1558 until her death in 1603. Also referred to as the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth was the fifth and final monarch of Tudor dynasty. Her reign is also known as Golden Age or Elizabethan era.
England was at war with France when Elizabeth ascended the throne, but she managed to revive the fortunes of her country. Under her sovereignty, England grew strong regarding international diplomacy and global discovery.
The superb political and diplomatic skills of the queen enabled her to prevent the outbreak of a religious war in England. The Tudor dynasty came to an end by the demise of Queen Elizabeth. She died at the age of sixty-nine and was the longest ruling monarch of Tudor dynasty.
One of the greatest writers and dramatists of English language, William Shakespeare lived during the last period of Tudor dynasty. In 1585, he started his career as a playwright and produced many celebrated plays over the next three decades.
In a short time, Shakespeare established a playing company which soon became one of the most successful in London. His plays were translated in more than hundred languages and are still performed all around the world. The Renaissance ideas of Shakespeare changed England remarkably during the Tudor period.
One of the most important scholars of the late Tudor period, Francis Bacon, was an esteemed philosopher, author, statesmen, and an expert jurist. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Bacon became the member of the parliament and actively supported reforms for the common man. In 1598, he became a trusted advisor of the crown. Bacon along with his political career laid the base for an inductive method of scientific inquiry and empiricism.
Francis Drake was a prominent sea adventurer of the Elizabethan period. The English captain and privateer spent his life besieging cities, taking treasures and forestalling the enemy ships. He helped the English navy to beat the Spanish armada.
After acknowledging his services, the Queen appointed him as a sea captain to lead the English fleet. Francis Drake undertook a voyage during the Elizabethan reign which took him around the world from 1577 to 1580. Drake was given knighthood for his actions by Queen Elizabeth I.
Thomas was an influential figure during the reign of Tudor monarch, Henry VIII. The king appointed him the Archbishop of York and effectively granted him authority in all the state affairs. Henry made Wolsey the second most powerful man of England by appointing him as Lord chancellor.
However, the downfall of Thomas began when he failed to have the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon annulled. The enraged king not only stripped Thomas of his properties, but also took all the titles except the archbishopric of York. He was ordered to appear in London subsequently over treason charges.