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In 1534 Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church. Now he was head of the state and head of the Church. He could control the Church and could keep its wealth in his own kingdom.

Between 1536 and 1543 Wales became joined to England under one administration. (West Wales was joined to England in 1284.) Elizabeth, Henry VIII’s daughter, became queen when her father died. She wanted to make England prosperous.

English ships had already been attacking Spanish ships as they returned from America loaded with silver and gold. This was the result of Spain's refusal to allow England to trade freely with Spanish American colonies.

Spain built a great fleet of ships, an ‘Armada’, but in 1588 the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English. England won naval supremacy.

Elizabeth encouraged English traders to settle abroad and to create colonies. This policy led directly to Britain's colonial empire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Elizabeth died in 1603 and James VI, the king of Scotland, became king of England – James I.



James VI wanted to rule without parliament. His son, Charles I (1625) found himself quarrelling so bitterly with the Commons that he dissolved Parliament.

In 1641 Ireland exploded in rebellion against the Protestant English and Scottish settlers. The revolt in Ireland resulted in civil war. Parliament in the long run refused to provide the king with money and the king considered the refusal an encroachment on his divine right.

In 1642 Charles I declared war on Parliament. The Civil War had started. Parliament was supported by the navy, by most of the merchants and by the population of London. It therefore controlled the most important national and international sources of wealth. In 1645 the Royalist army was finally defeated.

The strongest commander of the parliamentarians was Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell represented more than anyone else the gentry, the developing capitalist landowners. He had created a new "model" army, the first regular force from which the British army of today developed. Instead of country people or gentry, Cromwell invited into his army educated men who wanted to fight for their beliefs.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 832

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