Friday, June 2, 2017

The Path to Queen Elizabeth, when Protestant England surprises Catholic Spain & considers Transatlantic Expansion

The Kingdom of England (927-1707) was an absolute monarchy located in southern Britannia. was a Roman-Britain province inhabited by the Britons, Belgae and Picts, encompassing parts of the island south of Caledonia (roughly Scotland) of the geographical region of Great Britain and is the name given to the female personification of the island. It is a term still used to refer to the island.
With its capital to the south at London, England grew to encompass not only present-day England, but also Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, large chunks of France, all of Canada, part of the Atlantic coast of the United States, & British Honduras. 

The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic people who inhabited England and Wales from the mid-5th to mid-11th centuries. The Anglo-Saxon culture was formed by the mixture of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Romano-British, and Celts in Britannia after the Germanic tribes migrated to the British isles, and the culture was a mixture of Germanic, Roman, and Celtic cultures. The Anglo-Saxons had their own cultural structures - councils or witenagemots; storytellers called scops; noblemen called thegns; and slaves called thralls. First united by Athelstan in 927, the Anglo-Saxons founded the Kingdom of Angle-Terre. The kingdom had to fight for their independence against Denmark & their domains in England, as well as the Pictish tribes of Scotland to the north & France to the south. 
Harold Godwinson (c. 1022-1066), often called Harold II, was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. Harold reigned from 6 January 1066, until his death at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, fighting the Norman invaders led by William the Conqueror during the Norman conquest of England. His death marked the end of Anglo-Saxon rule over England.

In 1066, modern England was founded when William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, landed in England to seize it from King Harold II, who had taken the throne despite a promise by his successor, that William would become king. At the Battle of Stamford Bridge, Harold II killed the Norwegian king Harald Hardrada, ending the last Viking invasion of England. But Harold II (1066) was defeated at the Battle of Hastings by William, who became the new king (1066-1087) . After Hastings, William captured London & York from the Anglo-Saxons & crushed a rebellion in Normandy. 
William the Conqueror (1027-28–1087) - King William I, reigned 1066–87. Unknown Artist painted about 1590s-1620. England under Norman rule led to the conversion of the people to Christianity rather than paganism, & much of the architecture was based on Norman designs. William II of England, the new king of England after the death of William the Conqueror in 1087, led England into the First Crusade in 1096, expanding English influence. But this had not been the first time that England expanded its lands; William the Conqueror, as Duke of Normandy, had also incorporated Normandy into England's lands. He was allies & enemies with France at times, dying during the siege of a French castle. 
King William II 1087-1100 fought many wars to expand England's domains in France, & England became a part of the "Angevin Empire", encompassing their (the House of Plantagenet, the ruling family) lands in England, Central & Northern France, & Ireland. They fought with the Aragonese Empire over control of Italy in the 1200s, as England fought France and the Muslims in the 1100s. 
One of their greatest kings, Richard I of England, King Richard I The Lion Heart 1189-1199, launched the Third Crusade in 1190 & died in the siege of Chalus in France in 1199. England's power gradually increased, & had yet to be broken. The might of England ended in 1214 with the Battle of Bouvines, where the French king Philip II defeated the army of Otto IV of Germany, consisting of Imperial, Flemish, English, & Boulognese troops. 
King John I of England 1199-1216 was also faced with rebellion at home, in the First Baron's Revolt, & he was forced to sign the Magna Carta, limiting his powers. England lost most of their lands in France to the French king in the aftermath of the war, & it left them hampered both internally & externally.
King John's rule was mirrored by that of King Henry III of England 1216-1272 later in the 13th century. In 1258 this resulted in the rebellions of Llewelyn ap Gruffyd in Wales & Brian O'Neil in Ireland, & both countries conquered much of England's lands. While King Edward I of England crushed the Welsh in 1286, Ireland remained independent, albeit an ally of England from which England could draw conscripts. 
The loss of Ireland was made up for with the conquest of Scotland; King Edward 1272-1307 took advantage of a succession crisis after the death of King Alexander III of Scotland to invade the country & proclaim himself King. He carried off the Stone of Scone, on which Scottish kings were crowned, to London; & he was made King of Scotland in 1296 after victory in the Battle of Dunbar.
Scotland did not sit still under English rule, with William Wallace leading an independence struggle from 1297 to 1305, reaching the gates of London but stopping due to the pleas of the Mayor's wife. William Wallace 1270-1305 was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Scotland held onto its independence even after Wallace was captured & executed, as Robert the Bruce continued the war with England from 1305 onwards. England & Scotland were at war well into the 1500s.
After King Edward's death, King Edward II 1307-1327 lost the War of Saint-Sardos with France in 1326, lost the Battle of Bannockburn & thus lost Scotland as a province, & was eventually overthrown by Queen Isabella of France in 1327. Their son Edward III of England was crowned on 1 February as a young man, & rose to become a military genius; he reclaimed Scotland with the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, & proceeded to wage war against France in the Hundred Years War, claiming the throne of France by right of his mother. 
England was preoccupied with warring against France from 1337 to 1453, spending their men & resources in combat for control of France. They won most of the battles by use of the longbow against French knights, but in 1429, French woman Joan of Arc 1412-1431 led a determined resistance struggle that drove the English from Orleans. Although she was burnt at the stake in 1433 by the Burgundians & English, she inspired the struggle that saw the English evicted from France (Calais apart) in 1457. 
The loss of France was a blow to England, who went through religious issues in the early 1500s as they introduced Protestantism to their country through the Church of England. Henry VIII of England 1541-1547 fought France in the Italian Wars, aiding the Papal States, but in 1557 his successor Mary I of England lost Calais to the French, ending their lands in France & their hopes of having a mainland base. The result of the Italian Wars was to prove France's might, but although England lost, they were able to use the Royal Navy for the first time. Founded in the late 15th century, the Royal Navy quickly rose as one of the world's best navies, & later achieved that title in 1587 after defeating a Spanish invasion.
After Henry's daughter, the Protestant Elizabeth 1558-1603 ascended to the English throne, Protestantism became dominant in England and a rivalry with Catholic Spain intensified (Ireland became early scene of rivalry). ​The Catholic Irish sought help from Catholic Spain to overthrow the new Protestant English queen, but the Spanish aid never really helped. Elizabeth’s troops crushed the Irish, and the English crown confiscated Catholic Irish lands and planted them with new Protestant landlords.
Francis Drake by Jodoncus Hondius at National Portrait Gallery London. ​English buccaneers ostensibly sought to promote the twin goals of profit through plunder & spreading Protestantism by seizing Spanish cargo ships and raiding Spanish settlements, even though England and Spain were no longer at war. The most famous was Francis Drake 1540-1596 who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth awarded Drake a knighthood aboard Golden Hind in Deptford on 4 April 1581; the dubbing being performed by a French diplomat, Monsieur de Marchaumont, who was negotiating for Elizabeth to marry the King of France's brother, Francis, Duke of Anjou. By getting the French diplomat involved in the knighting, Elizabeth was well aware, that she was signaling the implicit political support of the French for Drake's actions. By the way, the proposed marriage never worked out.
Sir Walter Raleigh by Unknown artist of the French School. The coast of Newfoundland was the site of the first English attempt at colonization but collapsed when promoter Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583) lost his life at sea in 1583—the dream inspired his gallant half brother. ​Sir Walter Raleigh 1552-1618 organized a group of settlers who landed in 1585 on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island, off the coast of Virginia, a region named by the Virgin Queen Elizabeth in honor of herself. With Raleigh busy at home, the Roanoke colony suddenly vanished. 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert at Compton Castle. ​The English failures at colonization contrasted embarrassingly with the glories of the Spanish Empire, whose profits were enriching Spain beyond its ambitious dreams; Philip II of Spain, foe of the Protestant Reformation used his imperial gains to amass an Invincible Armada. ​Preparing to invade England, in 1588, the lumbering Spanish flotilla arrived at the English Channel. The Spanish were not defeated by the queen’s plucky sea dogs fighting against overwhelming odds: it was destroyed by appalling weather, poor planning, and flawed tactics.
Pope Sixtus V, who supported both the Spanish Armada and Queen Elizabeth, telling an astonished Venetian ambassador: “Were she a Catholic, she would be our most beloved, for she is of great worth.”  Sixtus had promised that Philip could bestow the English crown on whomsoever he wished, providing that the England would immediately return to the Catholic faith. Sixtus also demanded that the church’s property and rights, alienated since the time of Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, must be restored.
Pope Sixtus V. The defeat of the Spanish Armada marked the beginning of the end of Spanish imperial dreams but the New World empire would last. When the Spanish Netherlands secured their independence, much of the Spanish Caribbean slipped from Spain’s grasp to Holland. Spain had over-reached itself, seeds of its own decline.  England’s victory over the Spanish Armada dampened Spain’s spirit and helped ensure England’s naval dominance in the North Atlantic. England now displayed many characteristics that Spain displayed on the eve of its colonizing adventure a century earlier - ​a strong, unified national state under a popular Queen Elizabeth; a measure of religious unity after a protracted struggle; and a vibrant sense of nationalism & pride.

​A flowering of the English national spirit bloomed in the wake of the Spanish Armada’s defeat. The Elizabethan English were seized with restlessness with curiosity about the unknown and everywhere a new spirit of self-confidence, of vibrant patriotism, and of boundless faith in the future. When England and Spain finally signed a treaty of peace in 1604, the English people were poised to plunge headlong into the planting of their own colonial empire in the New World.

From Florida and New Mexico southward, most of the southern half of the New World lay firmly within the grip of imperial Spain. However, in 1600, North America remained mostly unexplored and unclaimed. ​Three European powers planted primitive outposts in distant corners of the continent within 3 years of one another - the Spanish at Santa Fe in 1610, the French at Quebec in 1608, and the English at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.  ​England had taken little interest in establishing its own overseas colonies during the early 16th century because of religious conflict that spread through England and the continent, when King Henry VIII launched the English Protestant Reformation. ​Catholics battled Protestants for years and balance of power shifted.  

Elizabethan England became a colonial power in the 1580s after setting up a colony at Roanoke in the present-day United States state of North Carolina, establishing it to rival Spanish control of the New World. The Anglo-Spanish War of the 1580s-1600s raged violently, as English privateers such as Francis Drake, John Hawkins, & Martin Frobisher raided Spanish shipping. Although the Roanoke colony failed, in 1607 the English set up the Jamestown colony in Virginia, & the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1622. English expansion in the New World gave them most of the east coast of the USA.

In the aftermath of the English Civil Wars (1642-1653), England was once more ruled by the Catholic House of Stuart of Charles II, and it allied with France against the United Provinces in the Anglo-Dutch Wars. In 1667, England took over New Amsterdam in the Americas from the Dutch, renaming it New York and New Jersey. They were able to have a great profit from the trans-Atlantic trade; they also took over the island of Jamaica in 1657 in a war with Spain, and had also set up colonies in the Bahamas and British Honduras (Belize). 

England's Stuart Catholic government was taken over by United Provinces Stadtholder Willem, who became the King of England in 1688 after ousting James II of England in the Glorious Revolution. England became a Protestant country once more, and became a constitituional monarchy with a more democratic government. England and the Dutch allied against France in the War of the Grand Alliance of 1688-1697, and in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). King William not only achieved military victories, but also united; in 1707, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales united to form Great Britain.