Henry VII

Reign

Although Henry's accession marked the end of the Wars of the Roses, the early years of his reign were disturbed by Yorkist attempts to regain the throne. The first serious attempt, an uprising in favor of the imposter Lambert Simnel, was easily crushed (1487). The French invasion of Brittany aroused great antagonism in England, and ultimately, in concert with Spain and Archduke Maximilian (later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I), Henry led (1492) an army against Boulogne. He soon made peace with France, however.

In 1494, Henry sent Sir Edward Poynings to Ireland to consolidate English rule there. Poynings drove out of Ireland the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck, who then sought support from the Scottish king, James IV. James attempted (1496) to invade England, but the next year, under pressure from Spain, he expelled Warbeck. The latter was defeated shortly thereafter in an attempted invasion of Cornwall. A truce (1497) between England and Scotland was followed by the marriage (1503) of Henry's sister Margaret Tudor to James—a marriage that led ultimately to the union of the monarchies of England and Scotland.

Another threat to Henry's throne was posed by the Yorkist claimant Edmund de la Pole, earl of Suffolk (see under Pole, family), who received some support on the Continent but in 1506 was surrendered to Henry by Philip of Burgundy (soon recognized as Philip I of Castile). In 1501, Henry had married his son Arthur to Katharine of Aragón, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. After Arthur died in 1502, an agreement was reached by which Katharine was to marry Arthur's brother Henry (later Henry VIII).

On the death of Philip I (1506) Henry VII, then a widower, proposed that he should marry Philip's widow and Katharine's sister, Joanna, but Joanna's madness made the match impossible. The English king then opened unsuccessful negotiations for the marriage of his daughter Mary to Philip's son (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). Relations between Henry and Ferdinand became strained; the latter allied himself with the French while Henry arranged treaties with Maximilian. Shortly thereafter Henry contracted an illness from which he never recovered.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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