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James I's Foreign policy
James wanted to avoid war and wanted to act as a peacemaker king throughout
Wanted to be a mediator of Europe
This was evident in his marriage policies for his two children of marriages into
leading Royal families of Europe. Elizabeth +Fredrick and Charles + the infanta
(which fell through in 1623) Elizabeth and Fredrick married in 1613.
He wanted Britain to have good relationships with both sides of Europe and have
Why James didn't want war
James did not dislike Spain. He had no hatred for the country unlike the English
War is expensive
James didn't want to call parliament and have to let them vote subsides to him
Peace promoted trade and full economic benefits
1618 was the outbreak of the 30 years' war. James tried to retrieve the Palatinate through
diplomacy. Puritans expected James to lead a Protestant crusade across Europe which in the
end he didn't do.
James failed to understand the link between religion and foreign policy. Many saw catholic
Spain as the antichrist
Treaty of London
When James came to the throne England had been at war with Spain for 16 years. Both
sides wanted peace. Elizabeth had supported Dutch rebels who wanted independence from
Spain. The Netherlands were mostly Protestant and right across the channel. This treaty
brought war to an end. Main negotiations took place at Somerset house, led by Robert Cecil.
The English could trade in the Spanish Netherlands without fears of arrest for
England could trade with Spain but not with Spanish colonies.
Many Puritans viewed the treaty as wrong because they wanted James to unite Protestants.
It was an economic necessity to bring the war to an end. For the next 4 to 5 years James was
more concerned with strengthening his authority in England rather than Europe.
Foreign affairs 16041612
Puritan members of gentry viewed the Habsburgs as forces of the Counter Reformation and
symbols of absolutist rule (far too much power was concentrated on the rule of kings).
Elizabeth supported the Dutch rebels and other protestant states. Some viewed Elizabeth's
rule as a golden age of History as she took the fight to Spain.
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JulichCleves dispute 1609
The ruler of JulichCleves died without an heir. It was left a strategic point in Europe. The
Habsburg ruler sent troops to occupy JulichCleves, but the French, the United Provinces
and the English (reluctantly) all protested. The dispute was settled in 1614 by splitting
JulichCleves in half and giving one to Catholics and one to Protestants. This dispute
highlighted that the German states could be a point of religious difference.…read more