The Tudors dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485. The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, effectively ended the Wars of the Roses by defeating Richard III in 1485 and uniting the Yorkist and Lancastrian claims by marrying Elizabeth of York.
The beginning of the Tudor reign effectively marked an end to the civil war in England, the rise of the mercantile class and an era of economic prosperity, paving the way for the English Renaissance. A number of notable political, literary and social personalities lived in Tudor England, some of which are mentioned below.
William Shakespeare, regarded as one of the greatest writers and dramatists of English language, lived during the last period of the Tudor dynasty. He began his career as a playwright around 1585 and over the next three decades, produced some of the most celebrated plays of the English language.
Beginning as an actor and a writer, Shakespeare soon established a playing company which became one of the most successful in London. Before soon, Shakespeare and his company had the royal patronage of the last Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth. In the person of Shakespeare is embodied the Renaissance ideas and ideals which significantly changed England during the Tudor period.
Thomas Wolsey was one of the most influential figures during the reign of the Tudor monarch, Henry VIII. He was closely attached to Henry when he became the King of England and by 1514, Henry had appointed him the Archbishop of York and effectively accorded him great authority in all matters of the state.
In time, Henry even appointed him as Lord Chancellor, making him the second most powerful man in England. His downfall came when he failed to have Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled. Enraged at his failure, Henry VIII stripped him of his properties and all titles except the archbishopric of York. He was subsequently ordered to appear in London over charges of treason but died en route.
Francis Bacon was one of the most important scholars of the late Tudor period. He was an esteemed philosopher, statesman, author of numerous works and an expert jurist. In 1581, he became a member of the Parliament during the reign of the Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth.
As a member of the Parliament, he actively supported reforms meant to benefit the common man and reduce the powers of the rich and wealthy. Although initially out of the Queens favor, Bacon became a trusted adviser of the crown from 1598 onwards. Alongside his political career, the works he authored laid the basis for empiricism and the inductive method of scientific inquiry.
Francis Drake was a famed sea adventurer during the period of the Queen Elizabeth, the final Tudor monarch. During the reign of Elizabeth, Drake undertook a voyage which took him around the world from 1577 to 1580.
He also dented Spanish supremacy in her new colonies in the Americas by ushering in a new era of privateering and piracy along the coasts of the Americas. Queen Elizabeth acknowledged his services as a sea captain and had him led the English fleet during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada in 1588.