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Henry VIII and the quest for international influence, 1509 1529
1. Who were the key players in Europe and what were their objectives?
a) What were France's strengths
France was the largest in Europe at 460,000 square kilometres, with a population of 16 million
b) What were Francis I's objectives and how might they lead him into conflict with Henry?
He was determined to uphold French honour and glory abroad by remaining the most powerful
country in Europe. He may have conflicted with Henry because Henry wished to make England the
greatest superpower in Europe.
c) What were the key features of Spain?
The Spanish kingdom was extremely diverse in terms of climate, language and culture. It housed 6.8
million people with a relatively large number living in towns such as Madrid, Toledo and Salamanca.
Spain was a devoutly Catholic kingdom.
d) What were the key features of the Holy Roman Empire?
The Holy Roman Empire was a collection of 400 semi-autonomous states in the heart of Europe,
where Germany lies today. Technically, this area was ruled over by an Emperor, but in reality power
was decentralised. The Empire housed 16 million inhabitants, some of whom lived in the 65 Imperial
Free Cities, all of which enjoyed independence from the rule of the Emperor.
e) Who was its leader?
In 1519, Charles of Habsburg succeeded his grandfather Maximilian I to become Charles V. Charles
now ruled over the Holy Roman Empire as well as Spain.
f) Explain why the Pope was so powerful in the 16th Century.
The Pope, based in Rome, held great temporal power as he was a major landowner in central Italy,
ruling over the Papal States. The Papal court could rival that of any prince in Europe and at the
beginning of the sixteenth century Pope Julius II was known as the `warrior Pope' as a result of his
desire to expand Papal territory through conquest.
g) What was the Pope's priority in the first half of the 16th Century and why?
The ongoing Habsburg Valois conflict in northern Italy threatened Papal interests in the first half of
the sixteenth century and the Papacy had to choose its allies carefully in order to prevent domination
from either ruling dynasty.
2. Was Henry's early foreign policy a success?
a) What was Henry's main foreign policy aim?
Henry's main foreign policy aim was, probably, his desire to go to war with France. He believed that
England and France were natural enemies from the days of Henry V and that it was his duty to take
France's crown for himself.
b) In what way was Henry's foreign policy realistic and how did he hope Ferdinand would help
him to achieve his aim?
Henry's foreign policy was realistic in that he managed to make allies with Spain and Italy in the Holy
Alliance. Henry hoped Ferdinand would supply financial and military support since he knew that
England could not realistically finance a long-term war without suffering from loss of funds and man
War against France 1512 1513
c) Why was Henry so unhappy with his father's old ministers?
Archbishop Warham and Bishop Fox were keen to stress the advantages of avoiding war, thus
preserving English security and using neutrality to entice would be foreign suitors who were eager to
tip the balance of power in their favour. This bothered Henry because Fox and Warham essentially
wanted peace while all Henry wanted was war with France.
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