Foreign Policy (Tudors)

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 12-04-19 11:42

Henry VII & Aims


- prove his royal authority with dealiings through trade, marriage + war (as a middling power, England was vulnerable, and was therefore forced into an increasingly reactive policy)


- he failed to employ career diplomats to reside in foreign courts who would be trained to report events accurately (instead reports were compiled by amateurs + frequently misinterpreted)

- at first Henry was left vulnerable to slow pace communications, but diplomacy soon became more complex with swifter communication (decisions being made by increasingly powerful + ambitious rulers)

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France (VII)


- French expansion raised security issues on the South Coast and English possession of Calais (Henry also owed Anne of Brittany loyalty for shelter until 1484)

- Treaty of Redon 1489: in order assist Brittany in defying French ambitions, Henry sent 3,000 troops, paid for by Anne (traditionally seen as minimal & defensive)

- Henry lessened the threat towards Charles VIII by making it clear he was not pursuing his claim towards the French throne (recent historians argued that Brittany blocked English conquest by limiting the size of the army)

- Treaty of Etaples 1492: Charles VIII would not support imposters (forcing Warbeck to leave) and French Pension of 50,000 crowns

Later Relations:

- relations began to fail in 1505 as the Treaty of Blois created a close alliance between France and Spain (by 1508 the Treaty of Cambrai had isolated England from Europe)

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Spain (VII)

The 1479 treaty between France & Spain worried Henry as he was new to the throne (he therefore worked hard to secure relations with Spain)

Treaty of Medina del Campo 1489:

- Catherine would pay a dowry of 100,000 crowns and marry Arthur (neither would intervene with war against France, mutual support to defend against enemies + neither would harbour pretenders)

- However, agreements did not come into effect until after Warbeck & Warwick were killed (Arthur's death in 1502 endangered the alliance + Catherine did not marry Henry until 1509)


- Pillip of Castile dies in 1506, allowing Ferdinand to emerge as the sole ruler of a united Spain (the Treaty of Blois in 1506 allies Spain with France + removes the need for English support)

- Treaty of Cambrai in 1508 further isolates England from Europe

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Burgundy (VII)

Relations began well after Henry renewed the Edward IV with Maximilian in 1487...

- 1489, TREATY OF DORDRECHT - Max. agrees to help Henry resist French expansion (Henry sends 3,000 to aid Max. but Max. was preoccupied with interests in Hungary)

- In 1493, Henry placed a trade embargo on cloth trade, Max. had made peace with Charles VIII in order to become Holy Roman Emperor

- In 1496, the Intercursus Magnus removed trade barriers + reinstated after Margaret of Burgundy supported Simnel + Warbeck


   1. Intercursus Malus secured advantageous trading terms                                                    2. Philip would hand over sustody of Suffolk                                                                                3. Henry recognised Philip + Joanna as rulers of Castile                                                 4. Henry would marry Philip's sister, Margaret of Savoy)

- Unfortunately, it was short-lived & unrealistic (followed by the Evil Settlement - unfulfilled priviledges)

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Scotland (VII)

Truce of Ayton (1597):

1. Agreement of mutual support & but only became a formal treaty in 1502 (symbolised by James IV's marriage to Margaret in 1503)

- Unfortunately, James IV sheltered Warbeck for 2 years (in 1496 he was provided a pension + married to Lady Catherine Gordon)

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Ireland (VII)

Much of Ireland was beyond Henry VII's control (instead dominated by nobles such as the Butlers & the Fitzgeralds)...

- the Earl of Kildare (leader of the Geraldines) + Lord Deputy of Ireland (Henry feared his Yorkist sympathies)

- Kildare's support of imposters confirmed his fears (Kildare crowned Simnel king of Ireland in 1486 & supported Perkin Warbeck in 1491)

- Henry appointed Edward Poynings as Lord Deputy in 1495 (who passed 'Poynings' Law' - Irish parliament could not pass law without prior approval from England)

- the strategy proved too expensive, especially after Warbeck returned to Ireland in 1495 (forced to recall Poynings + depend on cheap option of using Kildare as deputy)

- by 1496, Kildare decided on loyalty to Henry + secured submission of various Irish chieftains (by 1500 Henry secured peaceful + cheap authority over Ireland)

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Henry VIII & Aims

English foreign policy had became sidelined after Europe became dominated by the Italian wars from 1494...

- Henry VIII wished to present himself as a 'warrior king' who sought glory through war (however, at first counsel was still dominated by anti-war sentiments)

       1. However, sentiments began to change after the League of Cambrai + Henry declares war on France in 1512

In 1519, Charles V became HRE (already King of Spain + Duke of Burgundy)...

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Historical Interpretations

Henry VIII:

- Traditional Interpretation: before 1960's, historians saw Henry VIII's foreign policy as unrealistic, costly + failed to achieve significant territorial gain

- Modern Interpretation: Gwyn argues that it consistently pursued English interests + understood the need for flexibility in foreign relations

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HRE (1509-29)

- 1513, alliance with Maximilian + provided aid in first invasion of France (however, undermined by his death 3 months after the Treaty of London in 1518 + Charles V elected in 1519)

- At first Charles V refused the offer to join Henry in war against France (only in 1522, did Charles V confirm his intention to marry Mary)

- England declared war on France in 1522 (Charles V is preoccupied in fighting in Northern Italy + Duke of Suffolk is let down by Imperial Forces in Paris in 1523)

- In 1525, Charles reneged on the 1522 treaty by restoring Francis I to the throne (Henry expected to take the French throne after Charles victory at the Battle of Pavia in 1525)

- Wolsey's secret talks with France between 1523-25 alienated Charles V further

- Sacking of Rome in 1527 (Pope Clement VII became prisoner of Charles V, meaning there was less chance of gaining a marriage annulment)

- 1529, Treaty of Cambrai isolated England from diplomatic negotiations

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Scotland (1509-29)

- James IV had made an alliance with France in 1512 (James IV decided to capitalise in Henry's absence + invaded England in 1513 with the largest raiding party in over a century)

- Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 (Scottish forced stopped by the Earl of Surrey + many of the Scottish nobility + James IV killed, neutralising the threat until 1540's)

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France (1509-29)

- renewal of Treaty of Etaples in 1510 - Fox & Warham support peace instead of war (first invasion in 1512 with parliamentary funding + Battle of Brest)

- The Battle of the Spurs in 1513 (Theroanne & Tournai captured + secured french pension + war cost £1-2 million by 1514)

- Marriage alliance between Louis XII + Mary failed after Louis' death in 1515 (Mary was subsequenty lost as a tool for alliances after she secretly married Suffolk)

- Henry was obsessed with presenting himself as a 'warrior king' by winning 'glory' through war (he spent £1,400,000 fighting wars between 1521-5 - destroying his father's solvent throne)

- Henry lost interest in the war in 1523 and instead occupied himself with hunting + sport

- In 1525, Wolsey's peacemaking was undermined by anti-French conservatives (eventually secured the Treaty of More + creation of anti-Hapsburg League of Cognac in 1526)

- 1529, Treaty of Cambrai isolated England from diplomatic negotiations

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Scotland (1540-47)

- England's invasion of Scotland in 1542 met with immediate military success (Battle of Solway Moss led to a Scottish defeat + James V died shortly after)

- looked to primarily put diplomatic pressure to secure Scottish objectives (he was mainly interested in invasion of France)

- Treaty of Greenwich in 1543 suggested that Henry's 'rough wooing' had succeeded (however, Earl of Arran soon deserted the English cause + Scottish parliament refused to ratify the treaty)

Henry is criticised for not heeding Sadler's warnings of Scottish suspicion...

- enraged, Henry ordered the Earl of Hertford to carry out a punitive raid on Edinburgh, Leith & St Andrews (retaliation simply antagonised the Scots further)

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France (1540-47)

- In 1544, Henry set off at the head of his army despite health problems (suggesting Henry thought little of strategic objectivs)

- In 1544, Henry acted rationally + confined his army to the vicinity of Calais (the army besieged Montreuil unsuccesfully but captured Boulogne)

- Unfortunately, Charles V had made a separate peace with Francis I (Francis I sent troops to Scotland + English were defeated at the Battle of Ancrum Moor + sinking of the Mary Rose)

- despite this, the French had failed to recapture Boulogne (peace was agreed in 1546 as Henry was unable to fund his war with extraordinary revenue)

      1. he had sold much of the crown estate, borrowed large sums, debased the coinage - seriously increasing the rate of inflation

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Edward & Aims


1) to arrange a marriage between Edward VI and Mary Queen of Scots, as requested in Henry's will

2) to isolate Scotland from France by agreeing an alliance with France

3) to encourage a Protestant Reformation in England


1) he was willing to sacrifice Scotland in order to focus on internal problems within England

2) realised the value of an alliance with France - treating Spain and the Holy Roman Empire as the main enemy

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Scotland (Edward VI)


- continued Henry VIII's wish to marry Edward VI to Mary, Queen of Scots (Jordan argues he genuinely sought peace, while Bush argues marriage negotiations were half-hearted)

- Battle of Pinkie in 1547 demonstrated successful military action (agressive policy ultimately cemented the French-Scottish alliance)

- 25 garrisons were established + 14 planned (spent £580,000 on garrisons in two years + debased the coinage - almost double Henry's 5 year campaign)

- English language bibles to promote Protestantism had little impact


- arrival of 10,000 french troops in June 1548 made the garrison system unworkable + garrions were abandonned (financial benefit outweighed the threat of the French-Scottish alliance)

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France (Edward VI)


- Francis I signed a defensive treaty with Somerset in 1547 (as the French had failed to recapture Boulogne)

- Unfortunately Francis I died shortly after the treaty + replaced by Henry II (he saw the treaty as weak + repudiated it - demanding the return of Boulogne & Calais)


- Henry claimed the title 'Protector of Scotland' in 1548 (sending 10,000 troops to Edindburgh in 1548 making the garrison system unworkable)

- Treaty of Anges in 1550 pacified the French (marriage between Edward VI + Henry II's daughter)

- returned Boulogne for peace + improvement in the crown's financial position (Boulogne had been a drain on resources + was substituted with a substantial sum of £133,333)

Financial troubles due to foreign policy led to rebellons in 1549...

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Spain (Edward VI)


- realised Charles V would be a useful ally (Charles V agreed that French ships would not use ports in the Netherlands if supporting the Scots)

- conflict between Warwick + Charles V was averted after the renewal fo the Hapsburg-Valois hostilites (Charles V deferred Henry II from declaring)

- Somerset presented himself as a religious conservative + delayed relgious reform


- Treaty of Anges in 1550 angered Charles V (marriage between Edward VI + Henry II's daughter)

- In 1551, Charles V threatened war if Mary Tudor was forced to conform to anti-Catholic provisions of Uniformity

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Ireland (Edward VI)


- Northumberland's religious policies made firm action necessary as they bred further mistrust (state church was not readily accepted + liturgical reform was slow to filter through)


- Sir James Croft (Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1551) provided 200 soldiers + £24,000 to pay for his army (established English colonies in Leix + Offaly)

Took £250,000 to prevent revolt during Edward's reign...

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Mary I & Aims


- Mary followed an expected pattern (supporting the HRE + Hapsburg family, while France remained a traditional enemy)

- Mary wished to re-estbalish Catholicism (by marrying Phillip II of Spain)

- she attempted to remain aloof in politics (attempted to be a negotiator between France + Spain but neither would return Milan or Verdun to their rightful owners)

Unfortunately, she was dragged into war against her wishes...

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France (Mary I)

- France remained a natural enemy especially as Marie de Guise was bringing up Mary, Queen of Scots...

- Mary I attempted to remain aloof in European politics (she feared French intervention in Scotland, Ireland & especially Calais as a key trading port)

- in 1555 she attempted to be a mediator between France & Spain (however, spain refused to return Milan + France refused to return VerdunTreaty of Vaucelles ended in 1556)

- France openly tolerated English protestants including Thomas Stafford (in April 1557 he was supplied with French arms - causing England to declare war)

- French sought compensation after Philip was defeated with minimal English help (Calais' capture in 1557 was economically crippling)                                                                       1. lost for the first time since 1347 within 3 weeks

- successful assuault on St Quentin in 1557 (5,000 English troops joined with 70,000 Spanish)

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Scotland (Mary I)

- traditional enemy (Mary, Queen of Scots became sole heir in 1542 + betrothed to the Dauphin of France - strengthening ties between the two countries)

- in October 1557, the Scots marched through Kelso towards the English border (defeated due to bad weather + dissension within their own ranks)

     1. Scots disagreed whether to favour cause Marie de Guise + French alliance OR Protestantism

     2. demonstated failure of previous peace treaty

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Ireland (Mary I)

- Mary's government implemented the plantations established under Edward (Sir Thomas Ratecliff replaced the popular Anthery St Leger as Lord Deputy of Ireland)

- Plantation system cost military + failed to deal wih social + economic issues

- land was divided into manors + administered under English law (payed an annual sum to maintain roads + bridges)

- no struggle to pursue the cause of the Catholic Church (deprived marries clergy of their livings + appointed Pole as Papal legate in Ireland in 1555)

The majority of the Catholic population were never deported...

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Spain (Mary I)

Many felt that Mary's marriage to Philip made England a pawn in foreign policy...

- Philip had lots of experience + negotiated te return of Pole as Papal Legate in 1554

- Spain + France drifted closer to wat after the failure of the Truce of Vaucelles (resulted in greater pressure from Philip to support his funds, naval support + troops)

- War began well due to victory at St Quentin in 1557 (Philip failed to take advantage, halting for the winter to replenish hsi forces + allowed the French to do the same - Calais)

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Elizabeth I & Aims


- to prevent invasion + maintain prestige to secure her throne (reluctancy to support rebels against other monarchs)

- wanted to gain independence from foreign rule by gaining allegiances with other countries through marriage negotations (though she never actually committed)


- she was permanently short of money + wanted to avoid insolvency & dependence on parliament (aiming to build domestic resources)

- she was not prepared to suffer or engage in costly war to recapture Calais

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France (Elizabeth I)

- England's natural enemy due to its proximity + ancient right to French throne (Calais had only been captured by the French in 1558)

- war ends between France + Spain by Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559 (in the same year Francis II replaced Henry II but was a puppet in the hands of the Guise brothers)                    1. England loses Calais for 8 years

- In 1562, France is engulfed by Civil War (leading families of Guise & Bourbon were divided over religion)                                                                                                              1. Throckmorton & Dudley convince Elizabeth to help the Hugenots (Guise control over France was in England's interests - Treaty of Hampton Court in 1562)

- Hugenots are badly defeated in 1563 + disappointed with English support (Hugenots join Catholics to drive out the English in + Treaty of Troyes 1564 sees French capture Calais)

- marriage negotiations with Duke of Anjou in 1569 + Duke of Alencon in 1572 (eventually led to Treaty of Blois in 1572 - mutual support if either attacked by Spain)

- Treaty of Joinville in 1584 - creation of the Catholic League (Elizabeth supports Henry of Navarre against French - eventually by 1603, both come to fear Spain)

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Scotland (Elizabeth I)


Mary, Queen of Scots married Francis II in 1559 (resulting in the appearance of a strong Guise faction in France)

- After 1560, Elizabeth became reluctant to provide anymore aid (partly because her image as 'Protectress of Scotland' would make French + Spanish relations difficult)

Not a Threat

- Marie de Guise (Scottish Regent) deposed by Protestant lords (Cecil threatened to resign if Elizabeth did not send financial, military + naval aid)                                            1. Treaty of Berwick in 1560 confirmed aid to Lords of Congregation

- this led to the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560 (French withdrew from Scotland + leaving Protestant Gov. under James Stuart)                                                                      1. James recieved £4000 annual pension to ensure independence from France

- Francis II dies in 1560 - Mary + the Guise's fall from power (In 1587, Elizabeth signs the death warrant for Mary, Queen of Scots - though arguably a threat)

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Armada (1558)


- the beginnings of the quarrels were over English piracy but ended over the Netherlands (Elizabeth supported rebels with the Treaty of Nonsuch in 1485)

- Francis Drake (Drake attacked Cadiz successfuly in 1587 - destroying 30 ships + delaying the Armada until 1588)

In 1588, the Armada set sail:

1. the general leading the fleet, Santa Cruz, died in 1586 (succeeded by inexperienced Medina Sidonia who would rendevouz with Duke of Parma in the Netherlands)                   1. Duke would provide another 17,000 sailors 

2. Pope Sixtus V blessed the Spanish enterprise + provided 1 million ducats

3. Battle of Gravelines - English lost no ships + had more powerful guns (Spanish lost 1 Galleon - though both sides indecisively lacked ammunition by the end)

4. Spanish were forced to sail home with unfavourable winds (only 34 out of 60 Galleons returned + approximately 15,000 Spaniards lost)

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Netherlands (Elizabeth I)

- 3/4 of England's overseas trade pased through Antwerp - over 3/4 based on woollen cloth (Antwerp businessmen were unhappy with Mary's Book of Rates which increased import duties by 75%)

- Philip banned the import of English cloth (he thought Elizabeth was spreading Protestantism by supporting rebels)

- In retaliation Elizabeth imposed trade embargos in 1563-4, 1568-73 & 1586-7 (the economic suffering meant the last only lasted for 12 months)

- 1566, outbreak of Dutch Revolt between religions (Calvinist riots led Philip to send a vast army in 1567 under the Duke of Alva, later increasing to 50,000)

- Elizabeth feared the army's influence would reach England (she expelled Dutch see beggars in 1572, but continues to aid Dutch rebels unofficially in 1573 - allowing privateers to close the channel to Spanish ships)

- 1578, Pacification of Ghent calls for removal of foreign troops (Elizabeth loans £100,000 + another £100,000 is given to Alencon in 1580)                                                     1. Assassination of William of Orange in 1584 determines need for military action

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