The rulers of England during the Elizabethan Age all belonged to the House of Tudor. The first ruler from the House of Tudor was Henry VII. He ruled from 1485 till 1509. He acquired the throne from Richard III by defeating him in battle at Bosworth Field. The defeat of Richard III and the marriage of Henry VII to a Yorkist wife ended the War of the Roses.
The next ruler from the House of Tudor was Henry VIII. His reign lasted from 1509 to 1547. During his reign there was a rise of Humanism. Humanism placed emphasis on the individual, the worth of life in this world, and education. The Reformation also took place during the reign of Henry VIII. The Reformation was started by Martin Luther who wrote the 95 thesis which pointed out all the wrong doings and problems of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther posted the thesis on the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany. As a result of this Protestantism forms. Henry VIII forbids the practicing of Protestantism so the Pope names him "Defender of the faith."
Henry VIII had six wives during his reign. The first, Catherine of Aragon, was a Spanish princess. She was married to Henry VIII from 1509 to 1533. In 1533 Henry wanted to divorce Catherine because she gave birth to a daughter instead of a son but the Pope refused to allow this so Henry VIII created the Church Of England and named himself the head of this religion. Henry's second wife was Anne Boleyn and she was married to Henry from 1533 to 1536. Henry beheaded Anne because she also gave birth to a daughter. Henry's next wife is said to be the love of his life. Her name was Jane Seymor. Jane died while giving birth the Henry's only son. Anne of Cleaves, Henry's fourth wife, was of German nobility. It was an arranged marriage. When Henry saw her he divorced her immediately. Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard he divorced after only being married to her for 2 years. Henry's sixth and final wife was Catherine Parr and she outlived Henry.
Edward VI, the next ruler from the House of Tudor, was 9 years old when he ascended the throne in 1547. He died in 1553. Edward VI was the son of Jane Seymor. Mary I was the next ruler. She was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. Her nickname was "Bloody Mary" because she forced her subjects to practice Catholicism. She often killed those who she found guilty of practicing another religion besides Catholicism.
The last ruler from the House of Tudor was Elizabeth I. She ruled from 1558 to 1603. She was the daughter of Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was 19 when she ascended the throne and was well educated. She promoted a modest religious course. She was a shrewd, even ruthless politician and stayed unmarried through her reign. Some say the reason she stayed unmarried is so she could court nobility from other countries, which made it so England was on good terms with many countries.
Nationalism played an important role in the Elizabethan Age. Nationalism started because of Elizabeth's devotion to her country. Her subjects respected her. When the Papal Bull of 1570 tried to remove her from her throne her people supported her. Another reason for Nationalism is England was enjoying financial prosperity. Through piracy and increased trade (mostly textiles) England had become very prosperous. England also became a strong military power and was able to defeat the Spanish Armada. England also started to expand into Ireland.
During the Elizabethan Age literature flourished. People used Patronage, financial support in exchange for praise, in order to raise funding to write and sell literature. By the Elizabethan Age the printing press had been created so printed books were able to be made in bulk easier. Poetry was considered a social grace. Men often used poetry as a way to win a lady’s heart. Drama and theatre were very popular in the Elizabethan Age. There were three types of plays. Comedy, History, and Tragedy. There were many successful writers such as: Edmund Spencer, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, and Ben Jonson.
Elizabethan aesthetics (principles of beauty) were very different from what they are today. There was an emphasis on form and patterns. Artificial was a very positive thing. Most things had intricate designs and elaborate decorations. Many artists and writers imitated classical pieces. Such as Aristotle, and Homer.