The Tudor Era
The Tudor era is one of the most famous periods of English history, and also the one to have inspired the most popular culture, notably the TV series, “The Tudors”.
The era took place between 1485 and 1603, during the reign of the Tudor dynasty. The dynasty spans from King Henry VII to Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen.
The Tudor era is generally described as an economically prosperous and politically stable period in English history. It is often portrayed in clear contrast with the preceding 15th century and the War of the Roses, which is described as a dark and brutal time.
The second Tudor king, Henry VIII, is probably the most famous Tudor head of state, and one of the most colourful English rulers. This has much to do with his strong personality and direct approach to resolving political problems, but also to his personal life.
Henry VIII is famous for being the king who married six times to produce a male heir. Often the king went to great lengths to terminate marriages. Some of the wives were divorced, some were executed, and some died of natural causes.
Henry VIII is also known for being responsible for the most profound reforms of the Tudor era, that of founding the Church of England.
The Reformation in England
The most lasting and the most profound change the Tudor dynasty brought to England was the transformation from Catholicism to Protestantism.
While in popular culture, the reformation emphasises the role of Henry VIII in the process, the truth is more complicated. He founded the Protestant Church of England, partially because the Catholic church would not allow him to divorce his first wife.
However, there was widespread discontent towards the Catholic church that went beyond Henry VIII’s stance. Furthermore, all the Tudor kings and queens were active in religious politics, and several promoted a transition to Protestantism.