In British history, the Tudor period was considered to be one of the most exciting periods. The Tudors were basically a Welsh-English family that ruled Wales and England from 1485 to 1603.
Tudor kings and queens were very powerful and instantly recognizable among England’s monarchs. The transformation of England from Catholicism to Protestantism and the English Reformation was the great theme of Tudor history.
Though the history of the Tudors can be traced back to the thirteenth century, however their rise began in the fifteenth. A Welsh landowner, Owen Tudor, fought for King Henry V of England. After Henry’s death, he married his widow Catherine of Valois. Owen then fought in the service of Catherine’s son Henry VI.
Nevertheless, Owen was executed after the battle of Mortimer’s cross. His son, Edmund was rewarded for his family’s service and was married to the great granddaughter of the son of King Edward III. His only child Henry Tudor led a rebellion against King Richard III and defeated him, taking his throne. Henry, who was now Henry VII, married a member of the rival family and thus became a crowned king.
During the Tudors reign, England witnessed a rapid economic growth and emerged from the crisis of later middle ages. Gradually, the Tudor monarchs became very powerful and established a centralized government.
The most famous and powerful English monarch Henry VIII had six wives which was actually a result of the desperate drive to produce male heirs. However, Edward VI was his only surviving son who inherited the throne. Edward supported the protestant reform but due to his premature death the throne passed to his elder sister, Mary.
Mary Tudor was the queen who was best remembered for undoing the works of her half-brother particularly returning England from Protestantism to Catholicism. During this process, almost three hundred religious dissenters were either executed or burned at the stake. As a result, the queen was also known as Bloody Mary.
Proud of her Spanish heritage, she married a Spaniard, the son of Charles V. Mary suffered from various phantom pregnancies and was unable to produce any heir. She died of cancer and named her sister Elizabeth as her successor.
Elizabeth I, the final monarch of Tudor dynasty, was one of the most successful monarchs. Her period of reign was called the golden age or Elizabethan era. The queen was also referred as the virgin queen because she never got married. England was at the edge of war with France when Elizabeth ascended the throne, but she wisely managed to overturn the fortunes of her country.
In terms of global discovery and international diplomacy, England grew strong under Elizabeth’s reign. In addition, her outstanding diplomatic and political skills helped prevent the Spanish invasion and the outbreak of civil war on English soil.
Elizabeth was the oldest English sovereign and the demise of the Tudor dynasty came to an end with her death. She died at the age of 69 and according to BBC greatest Britons polls, Elizabeth outranked all other British monarchs.