Henry VII (Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond) (born January 28, 1457 - death April 21, 1509) - King of England since 1485, initiated the rule of the Tudor dynasty. He ascended the throne during the war of the Scarlet and White Roses. 1485, August 22 - Defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and was proclaimed king. By marrying Elizabeth of York (daughter of Edward IV), he formally reconciled the two warring factions. In general, during the reign of Henry VII, the features of absolutism were clearly visible.
Origin. early years
On the paternal side, he was a descendant of a noble Welsh family and the widow of Henry V Catherine of France, and on the maternal side - John of Gaunt. After the new marriage of his mother, his uncle, Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, took up the upbringing of Henry. After the defeat of the Lancastrian adherents at the battle of Tewkesbury (May 4, 1471), the boy was taken to Brittany for safety reasons, and later he was accepted at the French court. Living in constant danger, the future king grew up to be a rather tough and very secretive person. Having entered into an alliance with other exiles, Henry in 1485 - already at the age of 28 - landed on the English coast, with two thousand troops, and went to Bosworth for a decisive battle with Richard III.
Having won the crown at the Battle of Bosworth, Henry returned to London and hastened to declare himself the next English king. He inherited a difficult burden of problems that had accumulated over the previous 30 years of civil wars, and for some time his position on the throne remained rather unstable.
Beginning of the reign, marriage
1486 Henry married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, uniting two warring houses, Yorks and Lancaster, as a result. The “Tudor rose” with red and white petals became a symbol of such a union. But the threat from the adherents of York was still there, as many of the aristocrats feared to lose their lands received from Edward IV.
The beginning of the reign of Henry VII was accompanied by the first outbreak of an epidemic of a disease with a high mortality rate - the so-called "sweat fever" or English sweat, which the people took as a bad omen. Henry's reign, which lasted 24 years, turned out to be one of the most peaceful eras in English history, despite the uprisings of the Yorkist impostors who claimed the crown - Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, which haunted the country in the early years. Heinrich, suspicious and very concerned about his shaky rights to the throne, nevertheless showed generosity to his real and potential rivals.
1) Henry, Earl of Richmond, in his youth; 11) King Henry VII.
In an attempt to strengthen his position on the throne, the king relied on three "whales": first of all, these are royal courts, then a successful financial policy and, in the end, a successful marriage. During the war of the Scarlet and White Roses, government successively shifted to King Edward IV in the south, then to Richard III in the north. Having seized power, Henry VII initially centralized government and tried to breathe new life into the judicial system.
At the national level, the royal court began to function, which was named "Star Chamber" because of the ceiling decorated with gilded stars in the room in Westminster Palace, where the sessions were held. The Star Chamber as a rule consisted of 20 to 30 members. They considered cases that concerned the highest nobility, as well as those issues that the local courts could not sort out.
This gave its results: gradually the problems that had accumulated over the previous 30 years of lawlessness began to be resolved. At the local level - to maintain order in cities and districts - the king began to use the institution of justices of the peace. Gradually, these courts began to expand their original functions, and by the end of the century, most cases were decided on their own. Thus, through the centralization of government and the strengthening of the rule of law, Henry was able to achieve the strengthening of the state.
Portrait of Elizabeth of York and Henry VII.
Money, fines and taxes
Henry VII was constantly experiencing a shortage of money and used any methods to increase revenues to the state treasury. They have repeatedly issued statutes aimed at increasing cash flow, for example, an embargo on the import of semi-finished textiles (all because higher taxes were charged on ready-made clothes). The tax collection service was given much broader powers, as a result, and hatred among the people directly to those who collected taxes increased. With the approval of the monarch, many new fines were imposed, including retroactively for long-overdue misdemeanors.
The next episode can perfectly demonstrate the financial cunning and resourcefulness of the king. He asked parliament for an impressive subsidy to conduct a military campaign against France. Not only asked for, but also received two substantial subsidies for these purposes. The trick was that France was not even going to go to war with England - at that time she had completely different goals in Europe. As a result, the king of France paid Henry a tidy sum to keep the peace. So, everything worked out as well as possible: the king of England gave a couple of minor battles (completely unimportant, just for the sake of maintaining his reputation), but he was able to ensure himself a triple flow of funds to the treasury.
Sons of Henry VII: 1) Arthur Tudor; 2) Henry VIII.
The king was extremely attentive to any financial transactions, personally checked and signed all reports. As a result, the size of the annual income increased significantly, from £ 17,000 in 1488 to £ 105,000 in 1502 and 1503. We must pay tribute to Henry VII: without accumulating a large personal fortune, he was able to make the English crown reliably creditworthy.
Dynastic unions. Death
In addition, he well consolidated his position on the throne thanks to his successful marriage to Elizabeth of York. She gave birth to a son to the monarch, who was named Arthur (1486–1502) in honor of the legendary British hero. Great hopes were pinned on the young prince, especially after his marriage to the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536). The celebration took place in 1501, and a few months later, in 1502, Arthur died unexpectedly. This event, sad in itself, gave rise to a long discussion on the topic: how real was this marriage, did it actually take place?
Henry VIII (left), his third wife Jane Seymour (right). Behind them are Henry's parents, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
Not intending to lose sight of the rich dowry that was given for Catherine, the monarch decided to replace one son with another. He began to bother about marrying Catherine the younger brother of the deceased Arthur - Prince Henry. Formally, this kind of marriage was prohibited by the Catholic Church, but the king, as an exception, was able to obtain permission from the pope for this union. Even more important in its long-term consequences was another marriage arranged by Henry VII: his daughter Margaret became the wife of the Scottish king James IV. Thanks to this, the descendant of the Scottish kings James VI in 1603 was able to simultaneously receive both crowns - English and Scottish.
Henry VII died on April 21, 1509 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, next to his wife, Elizabeth of York, whom he survived for 7 years.
Thus, thanks to the firm and reasonable rule, Henry VII during his time in power was able to strengthen the position of his dynasty and at the same time significantly replenish the state treasury. Peace and prosperity reigned in the country, crafts and trade developed. It was during the reign of Henry VII that an expedition headed by John Cabot set out to the shores of North America, which was lucky to discover the island of Newfoundland. What was the beginning of the British conquest in the New World.