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A Short History Of The English Monarchy From Anglo-Saxons to 1660

Page history last edited by Ayşegül Yeşilbursa 15 years, 5 months ago
List of English Monarchs
       The Royal Arms of England, as introduced by King Richard the Lionheart in 1198, and before its later quarterings with other shields, additions of supporters and other embellishments.
The first person to assume the title King of the English was   Offa of Mercia, though his power did not survive him. In the 9th century the kings of Wessex, who conquered Kent and Sussex from Mercia in 825, became increasingly dominant over the other kingdoms of England. The conquest of Northumbria, East Anglia and half of Mercia by the Danes left Alfred the Great of Wessex as the only surviving English king. He successfully resisted a series of Danish invasions and brought the remaining half of Mercia under the sovereignty of Wessex.
      The continuous list of English monarchs traditionally begins with Egbert of Wessex in 829. The English kingdom was not permanently unified until 927, under Athelstan. The Principality of Wales was incorporated into the Kingdom of England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 and, in 1301. Edward invested his eldest son, Edward of Caernarfon, as Prince of Wales. Since that time, with the exception of Edward III, the eldest sons of all English monarchs have borne this title. After the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united under James I and VI. By royal proclamation James titled himself 'King of Great Britain'. England underwent political union with Scotland, in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Since that date the title King or Queen of England is incorrect, though has remained in usage to the present day. In 1801 Great Britain incorporated the Kingdom of Ireland which had been under English rule since Henry II.


Royal houses
       A royal house or royal dynasty is a familial designation, or family name of sorts, used by royalty. It generally represents the members of a family in various senior and junior or cadet branches, who are loosely related but not necessarily of the same immediate kin. Unlike most westerners, many of the world's royal families do not have family names, and those that have adopted them rarely use them. They are referred to instead by their titles, often related to an area ruled or once ruled by that family. The name of a Royal House is not a surname; it is just a convenient way of dynastic identification of individuals.
       Because of royal intermarriage and the creation of cadet branches, a royal house generally will not entirely correspond to one immediate family or place; members of the same house in different branches may rule entirely different countries and only be vaguely related; the family may have originated entirely elsewhere. The Capetian dynasty (that includes any direct descendant of Hugh Capet of France) is the oldest continuously ruling monarchial dynasty in Europe – it originates in 987 and is the current ruling house of Spain and Luxembourg.
      The House of Wettin, as another example, originated in Germany as a comital family. Today, it no longer holds any status in Germany, but different branches sit on various thrones, including those of the United Kingdom, and Belgium. Former monarchs of Portugal and Bulgaria also belonged to this house, although they were not especially closely related to the aforementioned lines, as they descended from different branches, some of them distinct for many generations.
     Royal house names in Europe were generally taken from the father; in cases where a Queen regnant married a prince of another house, their children (and therefore subsequent monarchs) belonged to the house of the prince. Thus Queen Victoria belonged to the House of Hanover, but her male-line descendants belong to the house of her husband Albert, which is Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a branch of the House of Wettin. The name was changed to Windsor in 1917.
      Nevertheless, this rule had several exceptions in other countries: After the marriage of Empress Maria Theresia of the House of Habsburg in the 18th century to a Lorraine prince, her issue took the name Habsburg-Lorraine in order to closely associate themselves with the previous Habsburg dynasty. After 1834, in Portugal, the issue of Queen Maria II of Portugal and Prince Consort Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (styled King Consort Ferdinand II after the birth of his first child to the Queen) remained solely Bragança, in the family and the dynasty unchanged name, following Portuguese matriarchal celtic traditions.
More recently, in the 20th century, the children of Queens regnant in the Netherlands and Luxembourg have retained their maternal house association, and in the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II 's descendants by her husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, will officially remain Windsor, although they are technically of Prince Phillip's House of Schleswig –Holstein -Sonderburg- Glücksburg, which, in turn, is a line of the House of Oldenburg. The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg also rules in Norway and ruled in Greece, because the modern founding monarchs of those nations were initially princes invited from Denmark, which kingdom's royal house is a cadet branch of that house.
Another way in which the royal house of a given country may change is when a foreign prince is invited to fill a vacant throne or a next-of-kin from a foreign house succeeds. This occurred with the death of childless Queen Anne of the House of Stuart: she was succeeded by a prince of the House of Hanover who was her nearest Protestant relative.
Due to the disolution of the British Empire into independent nations, the House of Windsor has ruled over 32 countries; 16 remain with the shared monarchy (known as the Commonwealth Realms), while the others have become republics.
// House of Mercia
        According to some sources the first ruler to assume the title King of the English is said to have been Offa in 774, who had been King of Mercia since 757, but this claim is based on charters apparently forged in the 10th century.
 House of Wessex
         The continuous list traditionally starts with Egbert, King of Wessex from 802, the first King of Wessex to have overlordship over much of England. He defeated the Mercians in 825 and became Bretwalda in 829. However, permanent unity was not achieved until 927, under Athelstan.
 House of Denmark
          England came under the rule of Danish kings following the reign of Ethelred the Unready. Some, though not all, of these were also kings of Denmark.
In 1066, Duke William II of Normandy conquered England. The invading Normans and their descendants replaced the Anglo-Saxons as the ruling class of England. The nobility of England were part of a single French-speaking culture and many had lands on both sides of the channel. Early Norman kings of England were, as Dukes of Normandy, vassals to the King of France. They may not have necessarily considered England to be their most important holding (although it brought the title of King - an important status symbol). King Richard I (the Lionheart) is often thought to epitomise a medieval English King, but he spoke only French and spent more time in Aquitaine or on Crusade than in England.
It was only after the Norman Conquest of 1066 that monarchs took regnal numbers in the French fashion, though the earlier custom of distinguishing monarchs by nicknames did not die out immediately.
                           Tudors and Stuarts
           Wales had retained a separate legal and administrative system, which had been established by Edward I in the late 13th century. Under the Tudor monarchy, which was of Welsh origin, Henry VIII of England - a son of Henry VII - replaced the laws of Wales with those of England (under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542). Wales now ceased to be a personal fiefdom of the King of England, and was instead annexed to the Kingdom of England, and henceforth was represented in the Parliament of England.
During the 1530s, Henry VIII overthrew the power of the Roman Catholic Church within the kingdom, replacing the Pope as head of the English church, and seizing the church's lands, thereby beginning the creation of a new Protestant religion. This had the effect of aligning England with Scotland, which also gradually adopted a Protestant religion, whereas the most important continental powers, France and Spain, remained Roman Catholic.
In 1541, during Henry VIII' s  reign, the Parliament of Ireland proclaimed him King of Ireland, thereby bringing the Kingdom of Ireland into personal union with the Kingdom of England.
Portrait of Elizabeth made to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), depicted in the background. Elizabeth's international power is symbolized by the hand resting on the globe.
During the reign of Mary I of England, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, Calais - the last remaining continental possession of the kingdom - was lost: captured by the French, under Francis, Duke of Guise, on 7 January 1558.
Henry VIII ' s  younger daughter, Elizabeth I of England, consolidated the new protestant Church of England. She also began to build up the kingdom's naval strength, on the foundations her father had laid down. In 1588 her new navy was strong enough to defeat the Spanish Armada, which had sought to invade England in order to put a Catholic monarch on the throne in her place.
The House of Tudor ended with the death of Elizabeth I on 24 March 1603, for she died childless. Without a direct heir to her throne, James VI, King of Scots (a descendant of Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s  sister), from Scotland's Stuart dynasty, ascended the throne of England, becoming King James I of England. He was a Protestant. Despite the Union of the Crowns, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland remained separate and independent states under this personal union: a state of affairs which lasted for more than a century.
The Stuart kings, however, over-estimated the power of the English monarchy, and were cast down by Parliament in 1645 and 1688.  In the first instance, Charles I' s introduction of new forms of taxation, in defiance of Parliament, led to the English Civil War (1641-45), in which the king was defeated, and to the consequent abolition of the monarchy under Oliver Cromwell, during the interregnum  of 1649-1660. Henceforth, the monarch could reign only at the will of Parliament.
The Tudors descended matrilineally from John Beaufort, one of the illegitimate children of 14th Century English Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (third surviving son of Edward III of England), by Gaunt' s long-term mistress Katherine Swynford. The descendants of an illegitimate child of English Royalty would normally have no claim on the throne, but the situation was complicated when Gaunt and Swynford eventually married in 1396 (25 years after John Beaufort's birth). In view of the marriage, the church retroactively declared the Beaufort legitimate via a papal bull the same year (also enshrined in an Act of Parliament in 1397). A subsequent proclamation by John of Gaunt’s legitimate son, King Henry IV, also recognized the  Beauforts'  legitimacy , but declared them ineligible to ever inherit the throne. Nevertheless, the Beauforts remained closely allied with Gaunt’s other descendants, the Royal House of Lancaster.
John Beaufort's granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort, a considerable heiress, was married to Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond. Tudor was the son of Welsh courtier Owain Tewdr (anglicised to "Owen Tudor") and Katherine of Valois, widowed Queen Consort of the Lancastrian King Henry V. Edmund Tudor and his siblings were either illegitimate, or the product of a secret marriage, and owed their fortunes to the goodwill of their legitimate half-brother King Henry VI. When the House of Lancaster fell from power, the Tudors followed.
With Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic Church, the monarch became the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Elizabeth I’s title became the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 without issue, the Scottish king, James VI, succeeded to the English throne as James I in what became known as the Union of the Crowns. James was descended from the Tudors through his great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of Henry VII. In 1604 he adopted the title King of Great Britain, although the two kingdoms remained separate.
The House of Plantagenet  was a royal house founded by Henry II of England, son of Geoffrey V of Anjou. The Plantagenet kings first ruled the Kingdom of England in the 12th century. Their male line originated in Gâtinais, while their direct ancestors had ruled the County of Anjou since the 9th century. The dynasty gained several other holdings building the Angevin Empire, which at its peak stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland.
        In total, fifteen Plantagenet monarchs, including those belonging to cadet branches ruled England from 1154 until 1485. The initial branch ruled from Henry II of England, until the deposition of Richard II of England in 1399. After that, two Plantagenet branches named the House of Lancaster and the House of York clashed in a civil war known as the Wars of the Roses over control of the house. After three ruling Lancastrian monarchs, the crown returned to senior primogeniture with three ruling Yorkist monarchs; the last being Richard III of England who was killed in battle during 1485.
A distinctive English culture and art emerged during the Plantagenet era, encouraged by some of the monarchs who were patrons of the "father of English poetry"; Geoffrey Chaucer. The Gothic architecture style was popular during the time, with buildings such as the Westminster Abbey and York Minster remodelled  in that style. There was also lasting developments in the social sector, such as John I of England's signing of the Magna Carta. This was influential in the development of common law and constitutional law. Political institutions such as the Parliament of England and the Model Parliament originate from the Plantagenet period, as do educational institutions including the University of Cambridge and Oxford.
The eventful political climate of the day saw the Hundred Years' War, where the Plantagenets battled with the House of Valois for the control of the Kingdom of France, related to both claiming House of Capet seniority. Some of the Plantagenet kings were renowned as warriors; Henry V of England left his mark with the victory against larger numbers at the Battle ofAgincourt, while earlier Richard the Lionheart had distinguished himself in the Third Crusade and was later romanticised as an iconic figure in English folklore.
        The Kingdom of England has no specific founding date. The Kingdom originated in the Heptarchy, seven minor kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons which were carved out of the former Roman province of Britannia. These were East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria, Kent, Essex, Sussex and Wessex. Together with other minor territories, they were finally unified by conquest under King Athelstan in 927 AD.
       The Anglo-Saxons themselves - for example in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - called their lands "this Anglian land of Britain" (meaning the ancient Roman province of Britain, not the whole island). Through linguistic corruption the name "Anglia" gradually became Ang -land, later Eng-land (England).
       The most powerful King among the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms was acknowledged as the Bretwalda, a kind of high king over the other kings. The famous rowing of the boat on the River Dee was meant to symbolise this relationship, since the Bretwalda was at the helm and the other kings took the oars.
        As a result of the conquest by Wessex (the West Saxons) of the kingdoms of Kent and Sussex in 825 AD, the Kings of Wessex became increasingly dominant over the other kingdoms of England during the 9th century. However, the conquest of Northumbria, East Anglia and half of Mercia by the Danes left Alfred the Great, king of Wessex from 871–899 AD, as the only surviving English king. He successfully resisted a series of Danish invasions of Wessex, and absorbed the remaining half of Mercia into Wessex. His son Edward the Elder (who  reigned 899–924 AD) completed the absorption of English Mercia, and re-conquered the rest of Mercia and East Anglia from their Danish occupiers, thereby uniting England south of the Humber.
         In 927 AD, Northumbria - whose Danish kings had recently been displaced by Norwegians - fell to Athelstan, King of Wessex, a son of Edward the Elder. Athelstan thereby became the first king to reign over a united England. During the following years Northumbria repeatedly changed hands between the English kings and the Norwegian invaders, but was definitively brought under English control by King Edred in 954 AD, completing the unification of England.
Commonwealth and Protectorate
       England was a monarchy for the entirety of its political existence, from its creation around 927 AD up until the 1707 Acts of Union, except for the eleven years of the English Interregnum (1649 to 1660) which followed the English Civil War.
      The rule of the executed King Charles I was replaced by that of a republic known as the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653). The most prominent General of the republic's New Model Army, Oliver Cromwell, managed to extend its rule to Ireland and Scotland.
       The victorious Cromwell eventually turned against the republic, and established a new form of government known as The Protectorate, with himself as Lord Protector until his death on 3 September 1658. He was succeeded by his son Richard Cromwell. However, anarchy eventually developed, as Richard proved unable to maintain his rule. He resigned his title and retired into obscurity.
      The Commonwealth was then re-established, but proved to be unstable, so the exiled claimant, Charles II, was recalled to the throne by Parliament in 1660  in the English Restoration.
Cromwell's enduring achievement was the military unification of Great Britain and Ireland, which from this point forward was a single political and military entity: a state of affairs which lasted until the 20th century.
Norman Conquest
         The peace lasted only until the death of the childless Edward in January 1066. His brother-in-law was crowned King Harold; but Edward's cousin William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, immediately claimed the throne for himself. William launched an invasion of England and landed in Sussex on 28 September 1066. Harold and his army were in York following their victory against the Danes at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (25 September 1066) when the news reached him. His army had to cross the entire length of England to reach their new opponent, but he marched south at once, despite the army not being properly rested following the battle with the Danes. The armies of Harold and William faced each other at the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), in which Harold fell and William emerged as victor. William was then able to conquer England with little further opposition. He was not, however, planning to absorb the Kingdom into the Duchy of Normandy. As a mere Duke, William owed allegiance to Philip I of France, whereas in the independent Kingdom of England he could rule without interference. He was crowned King of England on 25 December 1066.










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