What is meant by Tudor? Tudor time is the time between Henry VII and Elizabeth I.

The Tudor family tree.

The Tudors lived and ruled in Britain between 1485 and 1603, just over a century. But it was a century that changed the whole of British history.

The first of the Tudors was Henry VII. He became king when he defeated his rival, Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. For many years, English nobles had been fighting one another in a civil war called 'The Wars of the Roses'. The roses refers to the House of Lancaster and the House of York, both of whom used a rose as an emblem.

What Henry VII did was to marry someone from the opposite house and in this way bring both houses together. From then on England was united.

At the start of Tudor times England was exhausted from fighting, and a lot poorer as a result. Then Henry VII died and the crown passed to his son Henry VIII. England was the poor man of Europe among the big nations.

But there was trouble ahead when Henry found he could not have a son by his first wife. When he wanted to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn, the Pope refused. In the end Henry took the amazing step of taking England out of the Roman Catholic Church and setting up the Church of England. It had the useful side effect that Henry could now take over all church lands and their money, which made England a bit wealthier. Henry also set up the first English navy. That was to be very useful in times to come.

As you probably know, Henry was famous for getting through six wives, often by ruthless means. Then he died, and his son Edward took over. But Edward died young, and the throne passed to his sister Mary, who wanted to make England Catholic again. Then she died and the throne passed to her sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth's reign was long and very remarkable. She, like her father, was a ruthless person, and turned a blind eye when English pirates stormed the Spanish galleys bringing treasure they had stolen from the Incas and Aztecs back to Spain. The arrangement was that Elizabeth would get a share.

The King of Spain was furious, and also, being a Catholic, wanted England to go back to being Catholic. So he launched a large invasion fleet called the Armada. The Armada was badly managed by the Spanish and made to flee by the English Navy.

After this, life in Tudor England became easier, and the first expeditions to North America, and then round the world, laid the foundation for the English (later British) Empire. In Elizabethan times many middle class people became wealthy enough to rebuild their houses, and those sturdy houses are the ones we still see today.

Video: the Tudors.

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