The Political History of the World

European politics in the sixteenth century.


Hello everybody and welcome to the political history of the United States a survey of European politics in the sixteenth century. 

Over the next several episodes we’re going to delve into the world of Europe during the sixteenth century and set the scene for the conditions in Europe on the eve of the Jamestown colony so before we start today I want to give you a road map of where we’re going over the next couple weeks as we prepare to cross the Atlantic in 1607 this week we’re gonna begin by looking at the different powers in Europe and what they’re doing in the 15 hundreds we’re gonna focus primarily on the activities going on in England during this time as they are going to be the most central power to our story throughout the first season however even with our focus placed primarily on England we should be able to get a sense of what the rest of the major European powers are doing during this.. In 2 weeks we will have an episode looking at what many consider the definitive battle of the era the English defeated the Spanish Armada this battle is often portrayed as the event that launched England as an imperial power following the Spanish Armada we will turn our attention to the question of religion during the era religion is at the heart of everything in the 15 hundreds and is going to be especially important when we reach the foundation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony religion during this era is dominated by the reformation likewise we are going to look at the effects of Henry the eighth and creating the church of England and see what effects that that had we will conclude our survey of Europe by looking at the economic state of content in the sixteenth century we will look at how the economic changes in Europe fuel the great powers to look across the Atlantic and begin to gobble up land. Finally we will take a tour of the Americas at the start of the seventeenth century and look at who is where throughout the New World and what they were doing with all that behind us and the scene adequately set we can finally get ready to cross the Atlantic and begin looking at the English efforts to enter into the colonization game they should give you a basic outline of the next several episodes of the podcast and provide an idea of where I’m planning on taking the story finally before we get started I want to make a note about the length of the upcoming episodes I plan to do my very best to keep every episode around a half an hour however in these early episodes we’re gonna be looking at sweeping surveys of the European landscape I want to get through these episodes as quickly as possible so we can start getting on to our main story and I don’t really want to start bringing these up into multiple parts so for the next several episodes I do expect we are going to be going longer than a half hour that I plan to stick to in the future sorry about that. For this week we’re gonna begin by taking a survey of European politics specifically in regards to England during the sixteenth century now as I said at the beginning of my last episode I really only need to give this to you as an idea of who all the major players were and the events that shape the world that brought people across the Atlantic seriously Henry the eighth and Elizabeth are hugely important figures in modern European history each one of them deserves more than the few minutes that I plan to spend on them in this episode by the end of the day I’m hoping that you have a basic sense of what’s going on with the major powers in Europe in the sixteenth century and immediately prior to the English colonies in the New World. So why cover the political situation in Europe prior to the first colonies anyway. I think it is always important when looking at history to try to keep in mind what the people at the time must’ve been thinking.

To them none of this was ancient history in England Elizabeth and Henry the eighth were reset the first Colleen Jansen was founded in 1607 the rate of Elizabeth the first ended with her death in 1603. This podcast was originally posted in 2018 by comparison if we were doing the podcast about politics in the United States today we would only be going back to the presidency of Barack Obama. Henry the eighth his reign ended in 1547 only 60 years prior to Jamestown that would be like talking about the Eisenhower presidency well the people headed to James how may not remember Henry the eighth their parents did and they were certainly born into a world that was colored by his reign and beyond that the sixteenth century would prove a critical linchpin in Europe when it comes to explaining the reasons why colonization suddenly proliferated. This will be especially expressed when we cover the religious matters and the rising importance of the economy.

The sixteenth century in many ways is in here that sees vast changes throughout Europe the Middle Ages are quickly moving into the rear view mirror in the renaissance is spreading throughout the continent and we are in treatment to the beginning of the modern age we see England go from the tumultuous reign of Henry the eighth into the prosperity of the Elizabethan era.

The Spanish and Portuguese would reach high points in their empires during the century before coming together to form the Iberian union in the later half of the sixteenth century. The mighty holy Roman Empire will enter into a long period of decline during the century the Dutch entry into nature prosperity that would last for nearly 200 years and see them grow to become one of the big European powers however they are going to have to enter a fairly brutal war first then we’ll talk about more later. And France much like the rest of Europe is going to struggle under the new religious realities of the reformation but at the same time at the end of the sixteenth century house Bourbon would rise to power a position that they’re going to hold on and off all the way up until 1848 to begin the tour let’s start by looking at the England during the sixteenth century and there are 2 primary figures that define the 15 hundreds for England Henry the eighth and Elisabeth the first. Henry the eighth we control the first half of the century ruling England from 1509 until his death in 1547.

Yes biggest legacy is going to be his relationship with the Catholic Church and the creation of the church of England and well this is going to have huge political consequences it is a topic that I’m planning on saving partially at least Intel are apposite on the changing religious landscape of Europe so don’t despair if it seems like I’m missing out on a huge part of Henry the eighth I promise you it is coming. Henry the eighth was born on 6/28/1491. As the third child and second son of king Henry the seventh and Elizabeth of York young Henry had a privileged upbringing. Henry was the second side of the family so initially his hope to hear the English crown was hindered by his brother Arthur. But I threw would never make it to the throne dying of the sweating sickness at age 15.

What is what is it you ask well the sources are scarce with what it actually was however there is some indication that it might have been some kind of a hantavirus. With this however of what’s when sickness actually is with the death of his brother Henry moved into a position to become the next king of England. Shortly before his death are there he married Catherine of Aragon the doctor referred and the second in Isabella of Spain. Following his death Henry the eighth quickly realize the importance of an alliance with the Spanish. Despite some early reservations about the marriage which we were going to talk more about here in the subsequent upset on religion Henry the eighth decided to move forward and Mary Catherine for himself. Adrian this time was a rapidly growing empire and maintaining a good relationship with the Spanish crown was key.

This is especially true as a Spanish acted as a check against French aggression to the east and aligns with the Spanish crown therefore could provide the English with a degree of protection. Henry the eighth came to power in 1509 at the age of 17. Not wasting much time Henry wed Catherine of Aragon and beginning the process of purging people from his father’s court when speaking of Henry the eighth there are generally 2 topics that quickly come to mind the first beat his reforms to the church and the second being his 6 wives as to the church we’re going to largely ignore that in this episode and cover it more in our episode on the religious situation in Europe in the sixteenth century. So that leaves us with his marriages. Well there are numerous books and other sources written about the wives of Henry the eighth we are going to focus specifically on 3 women Catherine of Aragon Hamblin engine see more why just these 3.

The primary reason for this is this episode is only really meant to give you a basic idea of what was going on in England right before the formation of the new colonies the 3 women mentioned above are going to have the biggest impact over the politics in England and will do the most to explain a changing political and religious landscape with that I give my deepest apologies to end of Cleves Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr well we may not cover you in this podcast you are not forgotten. 

Following his marriage in 1509 Henry the eighth recognize the need to secure a clear at a contested a lot of succession. This means that he required a son. This becomes a problem however for Catherine of Aragon in Henry Catherine suffered a still birth for the couple’s first child a daughter well she would give birth to a set rate her second pregnancy named Henry Tudor he too would die will still at infant. Catherine within suffer through another 2 still births before giving birth in 1562 a daughter named Mary it was a well known thing throughout the court of Henry that he regularly took mistresses. Amongst these mistresses was Mary Boleyn.

At around the same time it appears that Katherine may have been entering the early stages of menopause making it appear all but impossible that she would birth a son. This creates a crisis for Henry the eighth without a clear line of succession his family’s dynasty came into question Henry appears to also become interested in the sister of Mary Boland an ambulance was very hesitant to become mistress to the king for various reasons by all accounts she been close with Catherine and disapproved of Henry’s treatment of his mistresses. With a potential succession crisis looming he Catherine looking less and less likely to produce a side Henry was essentially left with 3 choices. He could crosses fingers and hope that Mary has a male heir in time.

He did have an illegitimate son Henry fitzroy that he could legitimize or he could in the marriage to Catherine and remarry the best decision for Henry was 7 error of his own body and not to have questions regarding the legitimacy of his son that makes legitimizing Henry fitzroy a poor decision. Likewise there was a concern of that Henry would die before Mary was old enough to have a male heir therefore the decision was made Henry the eighth would leave Catherine of Aragon and when Mary and the wind. It is this decision to leave Katherine and Marianne that would ultimately because the English reformation. When the pope denied an annulment of the marriage between Katherine Henry Henry rejected papal authority and founded the church of England. Course this is a hugely important topic and again we are going to cover it more in depth when we deal with religious matters for this week however just know that Henry the eighth did manage to bring his marriage to Catherine of Aragon to an end and subsequently married and Bolin. The date of the marriage to add is the subject of some debate however it does appear that it happened at the end of 1532. 

This would correspond with and discovering that she was pregnant. And while some sources do you show the date of the marriages 11/15/32 prior to the discovery of the pregnancy it does actually appear more likely that the 2 married in early spring 1533 potentially even before the end of the marriage between Henry and Catherine. Regardless with the marriage between Katherine Henry officially over in September of 1533 and gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth. This of course failed to solve the problem that Henry the eighth had in regards to his succession. And would soon become pregnant again however it lost the baby during the pregnancy once again denying him here that he so desperately desired. Around the same time and learn that Henry had once again began taking mistresses a practice that she continued to disapprove of despite several other attends Amblin never managed to produce aside for Henry. During the same period in terms of foreign policy the reign of Henry the eighth was defined by conflict with France and Spain. France is the first to France had hoped to establish a good relationship with king however deep divides between the French and the English existed namely religion continues to be a major problem the French remained a Catholic stay is strongly disapproved of Hamblin and heretical beliefs. During a meeting with Henry around this time Francis the first attempted to create an alliance with him by offering the French prince in marriage to Mary the first completely ignoring Elisabeth. Well merry was the older daughter by this point Henry heads gripped her of her title of princess and beast of the title to Elisabeth.

In regards to the Spanish Henry’s decision to leave Katherine because not only great turmoil in the church but a deep rift between the Spanish crown and Charles the fifth who was at that time of king of Spain and the holy Roman Emperor. The roof to remain 1 of the biggest foreign challenges for Henry as trials the fifth continually refused to accept Amblin is the rightful queen during a meeting with Henry in 1536 in ambassador for Charles the fifth made the position of the emperor clear the position was a complete denial to recognize that as the rightful queen Henry furious by the stab demanded that Charles the fifth in knowledge and as the queen in writing something that Charles the fifth was never going to do. Recognizing the magnitude of the problem Henry’s chief minister Charles Cromwell understood that it was really time that and go. Shortly following the incident between Henry and the ambassador for Charles the fifth crime all convened a special commission to investigate Hamblin and her closest allies for treason adultery crime all presented the evidence to Henry and had committed treason with several people including her brother George Boleyn. From all claim that the plot had been to kill Henry and rule England through a regency as Adam was pregnant at that time. He understandably furious over the findings and still not thrilled that he did not have a son ordered the execution of an in one swift move Cromwell had managed to purge the entire bill infection out of Henry’s court. On 5/19/1536 Amblin was executed outside the tower of London Henry also took this occasion to cling that Elizabeth was as merry was had to be years before illegitimate. Before the execution of amble and Henry had already begun an affair with Jane Seymour. Seymour was popular around court and months before the fall then was moved into the royal household by Henry largely with the help of Thomas Cromwell wanting to waste no time Henry merry Jane Seymour just one day after the execution of amble Lynn. Henry by this point was getting older and the reality of the crisis succession was becoming increasingly big concern. This becomes even more problematic when in June of 1536 Henry’s illegitimate son Henry fitzroy died of what appears to have been to Burke Eleusis. Suddenly the options for Henry the eighth and his succession became even more limited now there wasn’t even an illegitimate error that could be named his successor. Luckily for Henry James Seymour would produce the sun that Henry need it in 1537 the future King Edward the 6 was born. The birth of a male heir was celebrated also came with heartbreak for Henry. Casey Moore became ill shortly after his birth and 2 weeks later would die. Henry would go on to marry 3 more times however those are all going to fall outside the scope of this episode. In 1544 at the question of succession will come up 1 final time well preparing for war with France Henri became concerned over the fact that his only heir with the often sickly Edward. Henry brought both Mary and Elizabeth back into the fold as full airs this would ultimately prove to be a critical decision for the future of England. The problem between the French and the English at this point came from an alliance Henry had made with Charles the fifth back in 1539 following the death of and much of the animosity between the 2 men had eBay did Henry had agreed to step in and ally with Charles street an ongoing war in Italy. Henry degree to invade France is part of the Italian campaign but before doing so he needed to deal with the matters in Scotland first following the sound defeat of Scottish King James the fifth resulting in his death Henry had hoped to marry Mary queen of Scots to his son Edward and unite the English and Scottish crown this is something that the Scottish parliament balked at and something which Henry would never actually accomplish after delaying as long as he could in 6/15/44 nearly 2 years after agreeing to join the Italian campaign and under threat of French invasion himself Henry launched his attack despite some early successes in Bologna the campaign for both sides quickly turned sour following a separate peace with France and by Charles the fifth Henry moved to quickly conclude the war with France with both nations not wishing to drain their treasuries more and continue to pursue the war and peace was soon reached. In January of 1547 Henry the eighth died. He said Edward the 6 would succeed him however is discussed a few moments ago Edward had often been a sickly child. In 1553 and with the 6 would also die. At the time of his death the young Edward had no children that meant that the English crown passed into the hands of marry the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. When the crown has to marry the most pressing issue again turned to the question of religion despite England embracing the reformation Mary remained a devout Catholic much like her mother had been. Much like her father Mary knew she needed to produce a male heir she sighed as her job is to the nation back towards the church and in that pursuit reversed many of the laws that her father had passed. Her nickname bloody Mary is in reference to the purchase of the Protestants that would be carried out under her reign. Merry by this point was aware that she she died without a male heir in Lynn would pass back to our products and sister Elizabeth with that in mind Mary agreed to marry the prince of Spain Philip the second. Knowing that there would be resistance from perception she she marry a foreign king merry proclaim Philip the second would only have rights to the English crowds along as she lived. I outlined that Philip would be referred to an all official documents as the king of England only up until her death. The purpose for doing this was to stop fears of a Spanish takeover without these protections should an accident had befallen merry Spain for all intents and purposes would have taken over England something that both parliament and the people were strongly opposed to. For what it’s worth it appears that filled the second he did his time in England he was constantly treated as a foreigner found that he didn’t actually care for Mary at all and it really wanted just to return home. The benefit of the marriage to him was that his son would eventually become the king of England which at the time was enough to keep them around. But maybe never would have that child despite believing that she had become pregnant in September of 1554. The first sign that something was wrong came in early spring of 1555 when merry failed to give birth. As more more time went on it became clear that merry wasn’t in fact pregnant. I repeated this came a couple years later in 1557 and like the first time the pregnancy also proved to be false unlike the first time however Mary would not recover in November of 1558 Queen Mary the first female queen in England’s history died. Today it is believed that the cause of death was likely some kind of a variant or stomach cancer. Upon the death of merry several things quickly happened first and foremost Elisabeth came to power at the same time Philip the second lost any claim to the English throne that he had had. But let’s not completely let Philip the second out of our story yet he will be back in a big way so Philip you can just go stand over in the corner for right now. Now there was a potential second option in terms of the succession the Catholic Mary Stewart the queen of Scotland. Mary was born on 12/8/1542 Mary Stewart’s grandmother was Margaret Tudor the sister of Henry the eighth. It is through this that Mary had her own claim on the English throne. There was a senior in Roman times being born into the purple a phrase that means the child from the moment they were born were in a position to inherit the empire Mary Stewart takes this to the next level just 6 days after she was born the king of Scotland James the fifth dice Mary his only surviving child became queen of Scotland in her first week of life. The thought that Mary the first originally had was that should she and her child died during childbirth Mary could go ahead and exclude her Protestant sister Elisabeth this would ensure that the move back to the church the merry had worked so hard on establishing would not be undone through Elizabeth. There was a problem with this however. The store was engaged to Francis the second the air to the French throne therefore had to come past to Mary Stewart it would have established England as a French dimming it. For Philip the second this was unacceptable Spain and France we’re currently at war. With merry out this left only one option Elizabeth. Philip the second not wanting to give up his claims in England did at 1.proposed a marriage with Elizabeth. This of course brought several problems with it the main again being religion. Where’s Mary was the devoutly Catholic daughter of Katherine Elizabeth was the Protestant daughter of amble in. Elizabeth showed little interest in marrying Philip the second well Philip did maintain a good relationship with the English kind initially things would eventually turn south between Elizabeth and Philip this cumulate in an attempted invasion of England by Spain and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Before we get there however let’s step back and get to know Elisabeth. Coming to power following the death of merry the first Elizabeth immediately stepped into dangerous waters. The first problem for the young queen was a question of legitimacy many of the Catholics in England view the marriage between Henry the eighth at amble and as illegitimate the book never dig granted installment and they were not about to accept bullet as their queen time did not change the sentiments they did not view N. as their queen and therefore did not view her daughter Elisabeth as a legitimate heir to the English throne. Elizabeth rightfully worried the Catholic conspirators would seek to remove her from power and replaced her with the Catholic Mary Stuart. Elizabeth acted properly and moved in unexpected way. Well the official state religion was going to remain Protestant Elizabeth instilled a sense of religious tolerance. The seller is largely did his job and quickly put to bed any questions of civil war England. Nobody wish to return to the purchase that it occurred under her sister Mary well Catholic still had their complaints and feelings regarding Elizabeth’s legitimacy the tellers that she provided kept everybody from acting brashly Catholics were able to continue practicing without fear of violent reprisals from the crown. Hello this is Beth herself was a proclaim Protestant she continued to keep many Catholic symbols around her such as the crucifix. Where Elizabeth does Bristol towards religion came from a group known as the Puritans the goal was to purify the church of England this group wanted to purge the church from all Catholic influence this was far more than Elizabeth was willing to accept and she went to great lengths to put checks upon the Puritans. In her religious sentiments of 1559 Elizabeth placed numerous rules to limit the effect the Puritans could have over her church. Now that’s all I’m gonna say about the Puritans in this episode however they’re going to be back in a very big way down the road we are going to take much more time and look much more closely at the beard and what they stand for both are of a certain religion and again in much more depth before they board the Mayflower head to Massachusetts. Following her rejection of marriage to Philip the second Elizabeth’s advisers were upset over the last opportunity to make an alliance with the powerful Habsburg empire. Through it everything religion remains a powerful motivation for Philip Philip is hoping that had he married Elizabeth he would be able to bring England back into the Catholic fold. For her part Elizabeth proved hesitant to marry beyond speculation the sources there does not appear to be a definitive explanation for why she made the decision never to get married. Propose theories on the subject of why Elisabeth never married range from her being unable to have children 2 for being generally distasteful of the institution of marriage following her father’s treatment of his wives of course in the case of Philip it is entirely possible that the rejection by Elisabeth was just as motivated by religion as was Philip the national proposal. If Philip wanted to marry Elizabeth returning into the church it would not be surprising that Elizabeth would resist the marriage and ensure that include roommate Protestant. Among the final rejection of Philip the second by Elisabeth relations between England and Spain quickly began to cool. A major concern was the Netherlands. Being was in control the Netherlands where William the first was leading a Protestant revolt against the Catholic Spanish forces. Philip sent troops to put down the insurrection of placing a garrison in Brussels this proved to be a check on English aggression keeping them out of the fight but at the same time he did push Elizabeth to begin improving the English navy something that would prove very important in the future. Elizabeth was also having to deal with internal threats to our power namely merry Stewart in the eyes of many Catholics merry did have the more legitimate claim to the throne they did Elisabeth. Again many Catholics never did recognize the divorce between Henry the eighth and Catherine of Aragon therefore the marriage between Henry the eighth and amble into the legal hence the claim by Elizabeth was illegitimate. Mary had found herself facing her own problems in Scotland which led to her arrest in 1567. Without going into overwhelming detail the entire situation surrounding the mysterious death of Mary’s husband lord Darnley. If you’re insane Hey what’s Mary Stewart married to France is the second well yes yes she was for a short time. However in 1560 France is the second died of a brain abscess probably as the result of an ear infection. Be happy for antibiotics. In the case of lord Darnley accusations flew towards Mary that she was somehow connected to his murder. At the same time lord Bothwell of Scotland was seeking a marriage with Mary buffalo had been the primary suspect in the murder of merry’s has been in now had essentially kidnapped merry and possibly forced her into a marriage with him. This marriage proved very unpopular with the Scottish people for numerous reasons on one level it read the population the wrong way that merry she get married to the man who is suspected of killing her husband. More problematically however is that Bothwell was a Protestant. With tensions rising 26 Scottish lords raised an army and marched against to merry.

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The Political History of the World