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Spain and England - Essay Example

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The period running from 1560 to 1648 is important to the history of Europe, for increased religious warfare was witnessed across Europe’s major powers such as Spain, France, England and Netherland, and which had devastating effects on Europe…
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Download file to see previous pages There were frequent struggles over religious beliefs, and that culminated into the thirty years of war from 1618 to 1648. Catholic and protestant leaders manipulated the situations to befit their political interests. This paper seeks to examine the early modern rivalry between Spain and England, from the angle of the ensuing religious schism. It conspicuously shows how the rivalry strengthened each nation and explains the reasons why England emerged the dominant power by 1600, based on the accounts and examples captured in the book The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, 3rd edition by Lynn Hunt et al.
The religious war pitted France and Spain, which were predominantly Catholic and desirous of restoring Catholicism throughout Europe and England, which was predominantly protestant, under the Church of England. The rise of Church of England came under the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547). When Henry VII tried to end is marriage with Catherine of Aragon, so that he would marry Anne Boleyn, the Catholic Church opposed as result of which Henry VIII changed England’s religion, through the enactment of the Act of Supremacy of 1529.
Henry VIII’s successors had different impact of the Church of England, most of which were influenced by Spanish catholic philosophy. For instance, Mary Tudor was married to Phillip of Spain, and the latter implored upon her to instill reforms at the Catholic Church in England. As a result of his role, Mary Tudor had over 300 Protestants executed (Hunt et al, 2010, 456). However, Elizabeth I (1558-1693) reestablished Protestantism, and she rejected proposals by Phillip upon the death of Mary. Therefore, as results of the differences between these 2 powers, there were internal strife and disorders in each country. For instance, in England, there was a catholic uprising in the North under the reign of Elizabeth, which she had to deal with, and because of her Protestantism policy, she faced two serious attempts to assassinate her, and there was always the threat of a Spanish invasion. To add, these powers interfered with each other’s activities, including using proxies to fight their wars. For instance, Elizabeth I funded Dutch rebels engaged against Spain. Phillips II of Spain was determined to destroy political enemies in England, France and Netherlands. The wars took an economic toll on Spain, for by the time Phillip died; Spain could barely afford to wage wars against the Dutch, France and England. Phillip II, despite inheriting a lot of wealth, he used all his revenue to fund the conquest of France, the English protestants and the Ottoman Turks. The conflicts had escalated to a full war, in 1587, when Phillip, in response to the beheading of Mary Stuart-a catholic who was next in line to the throne and who had offered Phillip II of Spain her rights to the Scottish throne- sent his armada to attack England. His armada was heavily defeated, signaling a humiliating defeat to the Spanish Catholics while the Protestants rejoiced (Hunt et al, 2010, 457). Moreover, the two countries were faced with famine, starvation, economic recession and as results of the constant wars between the 2 countries. For instance, in England, many people ate some bread and soup during the famine, that culminated in the passage of poor law in 1597, whose role was to order communities to support the poor. With regards to inflation, it arose out of the need for more money to support the warfare. As a result, the rulers raised taxes and depreciated the value of their money resulting to high inflation (Hunt ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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