Wales History: from Middle Ages to Civil War

Early modern times to 1600

In the time of the “Wars of the Roses” (1455-1485), in which the houses of Lancaster (Red Roser) and York (White Rose) were in dispute for the royal crown, Richard III was able to kill him. (House of York) Henry Tudor in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworthfield as Henry VII ascend the throne. Henry VII thus established the reign of the Tudors, which lasted until 1603, the death of Elizabeth I. Under Henry VII the trade experienced an enormous boom, among other things because armed conflicts were avoided. Previously, Richard III. murdered his nephews Edward and Richard in the Tower of London and thus usurped the crown; Eduard would have been the rightful heir to the throne.

In 1488, James IV ascended the Scottish throne and developed his ties to the French ruling family. He also married the daughter of the English King Henry VII, so that there was peace between England and Scotland for a long time.

The Welsh national hero Owain Glynd┼Ár started a rebellion against King Henry IV and even convened a parliament in Machynlleth in 1404 and crowned himself Prince of Wales. But this last Welsh uprising against the English crown ended in 1408. Henry Tudor returned to Wales in 1485 and landed in Milford Haven and defeated King Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field, whereupon he became King Henry VII of England.

Under his son Henry VIII (1491-1557) England separated from the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican State Church was founded. Heinrich’s greatest concern was not to have any male heirs, although his wife, Katharina von Aragon (1485-1536) bore him six children, only one of whom, later Maria I, survived. Since he really wanted a son and fell in love with Anna Boleyn, he wanted to divorce Katharina. However, this was not possible under canon law, so Henry called a Reformation parliament and the Anglican Church was founded under Heinrich’s leadership. During this time the Bible was translated into English. But even Anna Boleyn did not give birth to a son and was therefore executed on other pretexts.

At the urging of his advisors, Heinrich appointed Johanna (1537-1554), his great-niece, as heir to the throne on his deathbed, so that the throne would not fall to the Catholic Maria. Johanna went down in history as the nine-day queen because Maria arranged for her to be arrested immediately after Johanna’s accession to the throne. Maria became Queen of England in 1553 and had Johanna executed in the Tower in 1554.

In 1535, the humanist Thomas More was executed after a dispute with the king; from 1529 to 1535 he was Lord Chancellor of Henry VIII.

During the Tudor era, the Acts of Union were enacted in 1536, after which Wales formally became part of England.

The Elizabethan Age

With Maria Tudor’s accession to the throne (1516-1558) as Maria I in 1553, Catholicism became the state religion again (see also Christianity). Maria was married to the Spanish regent Philip II. In her time everything was done to suppress Protestantism, which made her not particularly popular with the population and was nicknamed “the bloody” because of the numerous executions she ordered. When she died in 1558, the population cheered her half-sister Elisabeth to the throne.

Under the reign of Elizabeth I (1533-1603), in which England became a great power, the Anglican Church was raised to the status of a state church again. Culture and trade flourished. One of the greatest English poets was William Shakespeare (1564-1616). He wrote many important pieces of world literature, such as “Hamlet”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, “Othello”, etc. Many aphorisms of his works are still very well-known quotations, such as: “To be or not to be “,” Something is fishy in the state of Denmark “. In 1563, the first statutory welfare benefits were introduced for the poor in London.

1588 was the planned invasion of England by Spainunder the leadership of Phillips II (1527-1598) prevented by the destruction of the Armada under the leadership of Sir Francis Drake (1549-1596) and England achieved dominance over the world’s oceans. The time of the colonization of the world began.

Civil War

When Elisabeth died in 1603, she left no children. James IV (1566-1625), the son of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, became King of England as James I and thus established the rule of the Scottish Stuarts in England. The Catholic Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), together with some supporters, carried out an explosive attack on King James I and Parliament on November 5, 1605 (Gunpowder Plot). However, the insurgents were betrayed, caught and executed. The UK continues to celebrate on November 5th. the symbolic cremation of the assassin every year.
In 1620 the Mayflower set sail from the port of Southampton for the New World.).

The assassination attempt by Guy Fawkes in 1605 was a preliminary stage to the conflict between Parliament and the Crown that lasted into the second half of the seventeenth century. The civil war broke out in 1642. The New Model Army, the army of Parliament, under the leadership of the Puritan Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) won an important victory in Montgomery, Wales, and King Charles I was captured and executed in 1649. Oliver Cromwell took over the government as “Lord Protector”.

The first republic in Europe was founded. In 1653, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) consolidated his dictatorship-like power through a protectorate parliament. In 1660 he led a bloody campaign against Ireland.

After Cromwell’s death, the monarchy regained power: Charles II (1630-1685) was able to set foot on English soil again and became the new king as the so-called “Merry Monarch”. At that time London already had more than 500,000 residents, which means that more than 10% of all English people lived in the capital.

Two disasters swept across the country between 1664 and 1666. The plague wiped out a large part of the population and in 1666 the Great Fire of London occurred, which lasted five days and left four fifths of the city to rubble and ashes. The architect Christopher Wren was appointed to lead the reconstruction program (51 of 107 municipal churches were rebuilt). Due to financial and legal problems, Wren was unable to assert himself with his urban development plans. In addition to more than 50 churches, Wren also began building St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1675.
Between 1685 and 1688, James II tried to reintroduce Catholicism. However, his Protestant son-in-law William of Orange overthrew him and James fled into exile. Many constitutional steps were taken during this period, for example the Bill of Rights was passed, which strengthened the power of parliament and the legal security of the citizens.

Wales Middle Ages