1500 - 1700

Brief history

1500- 1600s After the death of Henry VII, his son Henry VIII of England got the throne. In August 1512 AD Henry went to war with the French. In August 1513 AD the English won the war. In 1534 AD (he wanted annulment from Ann Boelyn, his first wife) The Act of Supremacy made Henry VIII the Head of the Church of England. When Henry died, Edward VI (his son) inherited the throne until his early death at 15 years of age. When Edward died, Queen Mary Tudor(Bloody Mary), Elizabeth’s half-sister gained the throne of England and is known for restoring England to Catholicism for a short period of time during her reign.

Queen Elizabeth I was the last Tudor to rule England from 1558 to 1603. Under her control of the English Church remained Protestantism that kept most people happy. During her ruling, she made the small island of England the leader of the Protestant Nations in Europe and gave foundations to the whole British Empire. Elizabeth also had her own foreign policy. If a foreign nation became more powerful, England would support the weaker nation. She tried to keep France and Spain from becoming too powerful.

The English Civil War took place from 1642-1651. The king thought that his power came from god himself, but that is not true. Parliament believed that the king had too much power, so parliament challenged the King. Parliament also believed that they should have ruled together. England slipped into civil war in 1642, between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. The Cavaliers fought for the monarchy, while the Roundheads fought for Parliament. Parliament was victorious, mostly due to the military genius of Oliver Cromwell and the New world Army. Cromwell purged Parliament of anyone who did not support him, and executed Charles I. They also abolished the monarchy.

Although the kings try to use their title to the supreme, they couldn’t because of the parliament.

1600s Dutch leader, William of Orange was invited by a group of englishmen to invade England. The people of England wanted a change in rulers. Mary was the daughter of the King of England, but also was the wife of William. William prepared to invade England. In 1688, William invaded London, but James sent out his army in for a battle. Barely any lives were lost, and James fled from London; he went to France. In 1689, the British Parliament offered William and Mary the throne of England. With their acceptance of the throne, they also accepted The Bill of Rights; The Bill of Rights allowed the Parliament the ability to impose taxes and create laws. Absolutism didn’t really exist in England because of Parliament.

Toleration Act of 1689

The Toleration Act of 1689 allowed Nonconformists the freedom to worship openly. Nonconformists were people who were dissenting Protestants. It gave Nonconformists worship places and allowed to appoint their own preachers and teachers. Social and political differences remained, however.

Key facts and major accomplishments.

  • Elizabeth Tudor, the leader of Protestant England in Europe and gave foundations to the whole British empire.

  • English Civil War was the war between Parliament and the King(at the time was Charles I). Parliament believed that the monarchy had too much power and needed to be restricted. Parliament also believed that Parliament and the monarchy ruled together. Parliament won, so the monarchy then had less power than he used to. It happened from 1642-1651.

  • William of Orange and Mary II, William invaded London, and he was offered the throne of England; he accepted the throne along with The Bill of Rights.

  • The Spanish Armada was defeated. England was restored to Protestantism. Parliament become the real power in the English government. Parliament began to enable people to worship freely.

List of Important Rulers

Elizabeth I - 1558-1603

James I - 1603-1625

Charles I - 1625-1649

Oliver Cromwell - 1649-1658

Richard Cromwell - 1658-1659

Charles II - 1660-1685

James II - 1685-1688

William II - 1689-1702

Mary II - 1689-1694

Supporters/Religion of empire or monarchs and what changed during the period of Absolutism

Henry VIII asked the Pope for an annulment of marriage to Anne Boelyn, which the Pope didn’t grant. He created his own church: The Church of England.

When Elizabeth Tudor came to the English throne in 1558 the small island of England became the leader of the Protestant nations in Europe and gave foundations to the whole British empire. To solve some of her difficult religious problems, Elizabeth received help from her Catholic half-sister, Queen Mary Tudor.

Legacy of the Empire

The Age of Absolutism drastically changed England and left an important legacy. Queen Elizabeth I helped defeated the Spanish Armada, and she restored England to Protestantism. James I of England believed that his power came from god and was made only because of god. Parliament believed that the king and Parliament ruled together. Parliament passed a petition of right that reduced the king’s ability to govern his people, like the Magna Carta did about 400 years ago. This led to the English Civil War, because James 1 did not want to sign the petition of right. Parliament won, and the monarchy never had full control again. The monarchy was restored eventually, however with not as much power as before. Parliament put forth more laws, such as the Bill of Laws, to further their power. Parliament also granted Puritans the right to worship in public. Parliament now had to the right to be part of the government, and was now the real authority in the English government.


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United Kingdom. IMAGE. Encyclopædia Britannica. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Spielvogel, Jackson J., and Dinah Zike. World History. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Glencoe, 2010. Print.