Britian 1483-1529 HVII and Foreign Policy


priorities of FP

1- secure the thone : H was fully aware that during the Wars of the Roses 3 English kings had been defeated and deposed by rivals supported by France or Burgundy 

2-to achieve international recognition of his Kingshap and his dynasty's legitimate succession: the most obvious way to achieve this was through marriage alliances w/ foreign royal families. Royal intermarriage was common and could establish strong alliances between powerful families 

3-to promote prospeity in England: England was already an established trading nation whose prosperity depended on international peace and advantageous commerical terms 

4- to maintain prestige whilst keeping the costs down: foreign engagements were always expensive & risky. the King would have to fund such expeditions through extraordinary revenue, an unpopular tax. 

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europe during the reign of HVII

in 1485, the most important countries in Europe comprised of:

  • France: Kingdom of France ruled by Charles VIII a member of the house of Valois, and was the strongest power in Europe and conflicted w/ most countries in Europe
  • Spain: F&I married in 1469 and held both kingdoms from 1479. creating the appearance of a unified country 
  • HRE: the empire was a loose fed of German, Italian and French speaking countries. the Emperor was elected by 3 archbishops and 4 secular princes and commanded no central gov, and therefore his power and resources were in his own lands. Empire dominated by Hapsburg dynasty who ruled in modern day Austria and well as inheriting lands from Spain, Italy & Netherlands. conflict between HRE and France known as Hapsburg-Valois wars
  • The Duchy of Burgundy: duchy passed the Hapsburgs in 1477 after death of Duke Charles the Bold. Although, French King aimed to annexe the duchy making it a point of Franco-Hapsburg contention and consisted of commerically important areas now known as Beligum & Netherlands
  • The Italian states: Italy at the time made of small states and Papal dominated states dominated the centre of county while the north had city states w/ the main ones being Milan Florence & Venice. 
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  • 1489-92 key period. Security, prestige: Henry seeks to aid Brittany against quick absorption by Charles VIII, and wants France not to support Henry’s rebels.
  • 1489: Henry agreed to aid Brittany by the treaty of Redon (Feb). 1st expedition to Brittany: 6000 troops were sent under Lord Daubeney. But Anne of Brittany had to agree to reimburse his expenses, surrender two towns as security, and make no peace, truce or marriage with France without Henry’s consent. Clause added with offensive aim: the Bretons to support any future campaign Henry might undertake against France for the recovery of his ‘right.’
  • July 1490: 2nd expedition to Brittany. September: amity between Henry VII, Spain and Maximilian against France. Anne affliliates with this coalition.
  • December 1491: Anne gave in and married Charles VIII.
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France continued...

  • 1492: Henry VII made a show of strength, offensive and defensive aims (asserted Henry V’s claim to the French Crown). Invaded northern France with 26,000 men. Charles VIII’s eyes were turning to Italy, and his aim was to make a quick treaty. Treaty of Etaples by which Charles VIII agreed to drop his support for Perkin Warbeck and other rebels, to indemnify the costs of Henry’s interventions in Brittany, and to reimburse the arrears of Edward IV’s pension due by 1475 treaty.
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Burgundy / Netherlands and HRE

  • Henry wants deal with Maximilian and his son Archduke Philip: trade to increase customs revenues plus Warbeck. NB Margaret of Burgundy (Edward IV’s sister – widow of Charles the Bold) supports Perkin Warbeck. Her dower lands in Netherlands, which give her freedom of action.
  • 1496: Magnus Intercursus, trade treaty that also closed the Netherlands to Henry’s dynastic rivals, a major treaty.
  • November 1504, Isabella of Castile died: Archduke Philip became the rival of Ferdinand of Aragon for the regency of Castille. Henry VII had to choose. Policy veered towards Philip.
  • January 1506: Philip and his wife, Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, blown ashore onto the English coast near Weymouth en route for Castille, Henry VII entertained them for three months. By the treaty of Windsor, he recognized Philip as King of Castille, and the two rulers promised mutual defence and assistance against each other’s rebels. By a second treaty, Philip pledged to marry his sister, Margaret, now regent of the Netherlands, to Henry VII.
  • April 1506: Malus Intercursus treaty between Henry and Philip so called because the Netherlanders believed it to be too generous to England. When Philip died (Sept 1506), Henry cheated of his investments (£342k)
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  • 1488, negotiations began for the betrothal of Arthur.
  • 1489, Medina del Campo: Spain closed to Yorkist pretenders and alliance with England.
  • 1501, the marriage to Arthur and Catherine takes place. Arthur died in 1502. Henry negotiates for Henry, his second son. Henry expected to marry Catherine after his fourteenth birthday, but the wedding postponed by Henry VII, who has alternative plans for alliances with the Netherlands and France. In 1503, Elizabeth of York died in childbirth. Henry was able to remarry. He began to negotiate with France, Spain and Netherlands.
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  • James IV helps Warbeck in 1495 and 1496;
  • 1497 James IV accepts treaty of Ayton. Having missed opportunity to profit from the Cornish rising, expels Warbeck and agrees to series of truces;
  • 1502 treaty of Perpetual Peace and marriage of James to Margaret Tudor.
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  • May 1487, Simnel crowned in Ireland as Edward VI, and invaded England. Policy in Ireland a mixture of carrot and stick: general pardon, followed by bonds and new oath of allegiance.
  • 1491-2 Warbeck in Ireland. Increase in royal and military intervention. Warbeck back 1495. Sir Edward Poynings sent (1494-5) to crush the Yorkists.
  • Overall policy to keep the Pale loyal by delegating government to trusted nobles.
  • English legislation on retaining adapted for Ireland and the Irish Parliament to meet only with the King’s consent.
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