Foreign policy of Henry VIII

Foreign policy of Henry VIII
Foreign policy of Henry VIII
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In the early years of Henry viii foreign policy timeline, Henry was lured into a war against France with Spain and the Holy Roman emperor, in a futile attempt to prevent the merger of the duchy of Brittany into France. But, seeing that war was a risky pastime for a monarchy that was both bankrupt and unstable, he made peace with France in 1492, receiving acknowledgment for his dynasty as well as a generous annuity. Following that, the French concentration with adventures in Italy allowed for quiet ties, but Maximilian and James IV's support for Warbeck resulted in bitter disputes with the Netherlands and Scotland. Because of England's economic importance to the Netherlands, Henry was able to persuade Maximilian and the Netherlands to forsake the pretender in 1496 and sign a treaty of peace and freer trade (the Intercursus Magnus).ScotlandMargaret, Henry's daughter The arrival in England in 1501 of Catherine of Aragon for her marriage to Prince Arthur may have aided James' assent to the match.The Tudor dynasty's prestige was increased by a marital alliance with Spain, and the fact that the Spanish kings allowed the marriage to take place in 1501 is a testament to the Tudor regime's growing dominance in the eyes of European nations.Following Arthur's death in 1502, Henry was in a strong position to insist on Catherine's marriage to his surviving son, Henry (later King Henry VIII), because he owned both Catherine's person and half of her fortune, and Spain needed English backing against France. Indeed, Henry had developed such confidence in his position in the final years of his reign that he engaged in some outlandish matrimonial diplomacy projects. However, he avoided conflict because of a lifetime of caution, and his foreign policy as a whole should not be judged by such late anomalies. He had employed diplomacy not just to protect the monarchy but also to enrich his country, taking advantage of every opportunity to increase English trade through economic treaties. He prospered and strengthened his country to the point where he was able to marry his daughter Mary to Archduke Charles (later Emperor Charles V), the best match of the time.

Administration and government

In domestic affairs, Henry accomplished remarkable success mostly via the use of traditional means. Henry, like Edward IV, recognized that the throne needed to be able to exhibit both splendour and power when the occasion demanded it. This required wealth, which would also relieve the king of his embarrassing reliance on Parliament and creditors. Solvency could be achieved through cost-cutting, such as avoiding war and promoting administrative efficiency, as well as increased revenue. To supplement his customs revenue, Henry attempted to boost exports, preserve domestic industries, aid English shipping by enacting a navigation act to ensure that English goods were transported on English ships, and establish new markets by aiding John Cabot and his sons on their missions of exploration. The robust exercise of royal fiscal powers, such as legal fees, penalties and amercements, and feudal dues, proved to be more fruitful. This was largely accomplished by sticking to Yorkist practices of paying the majority of royal revenue into the chamber of the household, which was controlled by capable and energetic employees and supervised by the king personally, rather than the Exchequer, which was hidebound by tradition. Henry's financial techniques were so efficient and ruthless that he left a fortune to his successor as well as a legacy of contempt for some of his finance ministers.Henry utilized more traditional means than previously imagined in restoring order following the civil wars. He used a huge council, presided over by himself, in which lawyers, clerics, and minor nobles were active participants, similar to the Yorkist kings. The council, known as the Court of Star Chamber, dealt with judicial affairs, but not as much as was previously supposed. Toward the end of his reign, the Court of King's Bench and the justices of assize issued nearly all of the hefty fines for the illegal retention of armed men. Special preparations were formed in the council for hearing poor men's cases and for attempting to promote greater order in Wales and the North by establishing special councils there, and the justices of the peace were given more powers. Furthermore, the monarch could not abolish the retainer system because he relied on them for a large part of his army, and society saw them as natural rank adjuncts. As a result, Henry's rule, as well as his relations with Parliament and the church, were conservative.

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