Unit 1: Foreign Policy

  • Created by: elyornais
  • Created on: 06-04-15 20:04

Key Players


  • Francis I since 1515.
  • Population- 16 million


  • Charles I since 1516 (grandson of Ferdinand)
  • Population- 6.8 million
  • Devoutley Catholic kingdom.

Holy Roman Empire:

  • Charles V since 1519.
  • Population- 16 million.

The Papacy:

  • Pope Clement VII since 1523.
  • Rulled papal states (central Italy.)
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War Against France 1512-13

  • France had emerged as the strongest power in Italy and threatened independence of the papal states.
  • Henry could portray the war as a papal one in defence of the liberties of the Church to win over the Great Council.
  • Parliament granted money in April 1512 and provided 12,000 troops under Marquis of Dorset.
  • Plan: Gain control of Aquataine in France through Anglo-Spanish invasion.
  • Henry was let down by Ferdinand who only wanted to use English troops as a diversion to capture Navarre.
  • While English troops waited for spanish, dysentary and drunkenness engulfed their camp.
  • Naval defeat at Brest meant first continental campaign after 60 years was a failure.
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Battle of the Spurs 1513

  • King Henry personally lead an army of 30,000, crossed the channel of Calais in June 1513.
  • Captured Therouanne and Tournais, with little French resistance.
  • Named after speed that the French had retreated.
  • Little real fighting.
  • Some French nobles captured and returned to England to further enhance prestige.
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Battle of Flodden 1513

  • James IV of Scotland invaded England while Henry was in France.
  • English army was commanded by the Earl of Surrey.
  • September- The two armies confronted each other at Flodden Edge, Surrey outnumbered.
  • Earl won this victory that removed Scottish threat.
  • James IV dead. His son, James V only a boy and Margaret as regent.
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Successes and failures by end of 1513


  • Henry stamped his mark on European affairs and marked presence to other powers. Renaissance prince in waging war.
  • Laid claim to inherited title of king of France. Prestige on his reign.
  • His attention had been drawn to Wolsey who had organised the complications of raising an army and sending it accross the Channel.


  • Had been decieved and deserted by Ferdinand.
  • Therouanne and Tournai were soft targets while the battle of the Spurs was a skirmish.
  • Costs of his campaigns were high. He spent £960,000 in 1511-13 and his ordinary income was only £110,000 per annum.
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Anglo-French Treaty 1514

  • Ferdinand and Maximillian had lost interest in attacking France and both had been negotiating behind Henry's back to conclude seperate treaties. New pope (Leo X) favoured peace over war.
  • Treaty gave England posession of Tournai and Louis XII agreed to pay rest of english pension handed out to henry vii.
  • Henry proposed joint attack on Spain to drive Ferdinand out of Navarre and claim Castille for catherine but this remained unfulfilled. Shows his annoyance at Ferdinand.
  • Treaty sealed with marriage of Henry's sister Mary to elderly Louis XII.
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Wolsey's aims in Foreign Policy

  • Maintain balance of power in Europe? Making sure no power got too dominant and supporting those agains dominant forces.
  • G.R. Elton- Wolsey often allied England with the strongest power.
  • A.F. Pollard- Argues that Wolsey's main principle was to follow papal policy. Hoped to further own ambitions of becoming pope by aligning English ambitions with Roman ones.
  • J.J. Scarisbrick- Wolsey did not always follow papal policy and it was unrealistic that he would become pope anyway. Wolsey aimed to encourage peace by aligning England with the stronger side, disrupting the balance of power and forcing weaker ones to seek terms.
  • Recent historians- Flexibility of Wolsey's foreign policie, and difficult to identify one guiding principle. State of affairs always changing so Wolsey could not stick to just one policy.
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Wolsey the peacemaker, 1514-1518

  • New king Francis I stirred up trouble by sending Scottish claimant, duke of Albany to overthrow the regency gov of Margaret.- success.
  • Francis won victory over the Swiss at the battle of Marignano- Sep 1515- gave French control of Milan and most of northern Italy.
  • 1516- Francis negotiates Concordat of Bologna with Leo X- Right for French Kings to appoint bishops to French sees.
  • Wolsey wanted to avoid expense of invasion but also wanted to support pro-papal, anti-french alliance.
  • Result: secret subsidy to Emperor max, hoping to stop French advancing into northern Italy but was let down again. Max accepted money but defected to French.
  • Wolsey wanted to conduct an anti-french league but Ferdinand died to be succeeded by Charles who had no interest in this and made peace with France.
  • Maximilian joined this alliance in 1517 through the Peace of Cambrai. England isolated and humiliated.
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The Treaty of London, 1518

  • Wolsey used Papal plans to suit needs of powers of Europe. Settlement of universal peace that seemed to put England at the centre of diplomatic affairs.
  • Bound France, Papacy, Spain, HRE and England against the Turk.
  • It gaurenteed non agression between major powers.
  • Built in principle of collective security.
  • Heaped prestige onto Henry's reign.
  • Ended threat of english isolation.
  • Anglo-French treaty signed that gave Tournai back to France for a French pension.
  • Henry's daughter Mary was betrothed to the Dauphin and the duke of Albany was to be kept out of Scotland.
  • Wolsey had become Legate a Latere in this year.

Info about the Ottoman Turk:

  • The political and geographical entity governed by the Muslim Ottoman Turks.
  • Easily won many military victories.
  • Western Europeans feared that the Ottoman Empire would bring the downfall of Christendom.
  • Suleiman the Magnificent sponsored an army of artists, religious thinkers, and philosophers that outshone the most educated courts of Europe.
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The field of the cloth of gold 1520

  • Over 3,000 notables from each of the 2 kingdoms met in Calais
  • Two kings showed off their prestige, there was jousting and a wrestling match but Little diplomatic value was acheived.
  • Hasburg-Valois tensions made it difficult for England to stay neutral. Charles was desperate for assurance that England would not ally with France.
  • Traditional hostility towards France. Resented Francis succes since 1515.
  • Important trade links with Low Countries- Charles ruled over the Hasburg Netherlands.
  • Papal Policy at the time was anti-French because of French expansion in Northern Italy.


  • 3-power conference at Calais in July 1521- England acts as peace broker.
  • Later in August- Wolsey travelled to Bruges, ToB with Charles- England would invade France unless French king agreed to make peace. (Wolsey delayed entering war until 1523)
  • funded through taxation- No enthusiasm- not helping English interests.
  • 1522- Surrey leads raiding party from Calais into Normany and Picardy, made no territorial gains and little support from Charles' troops.
  • 1523- Rebellion agaist Francis from Duke of Bourbon. English force costing £400000 sent under Suffolk. Rebellion came to nothing.English army fell apart. Wolsey eager to release England from obligations of ToB and make general peace with France.
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Diplomatic Revolution 1525

  • Charles achieved victory over the french in northern Italy at Pavia. The French army was annihilated and Francis was taken prisoner.
  • Wolsey and Henry thought that they might profit from this but Charles thought otherwise.
  • Wolsey negotiated with France. Treaty of the More (1525)- Henry give up claims to France for an annual pension.
  • Francis released within a year on condition that he wouldnt threaten imperial interests in Italy and his sons were kept as hostage to support oaths taken.
  • May 1526- Treaty of Cognac arranged that allied England, France and some Italian states agains Hasburg hegemony in Italy. - Wolsey helped construct this League, England financed it but never joined.
  • 1527- England and France cement alliance with Treaty of Westminister. Princess Mary- diplomatic marriage pawn for Francis or his son.
  • England couldn't threaten Charles, ToC achieved nothing.
  • 1527- Charles takes Pope Clement VII prisoner. By the end, released him but had tight grip on Italy.
  • 1528- Wolsey declares war on Charles but no army mobilised. Considered trade embargo but this would harm England.
  • Aug 1529- Peace of Cambrai between France, Spain and the Papacy.- left Charles in control of Italy. England isolated and impossible to obtain divorce through Rome.
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Successes of Wolsey's Foreign Policy

  • Capture of Therouanne and Tournai in 1513 shows Henry's strong Renaissance kingship. Used as bargaining tools in future relations with France.
  • Wolsey was a successful peace broker. Treaty of London was his greatest achievement. Wolsey seen as an architect of peace and treated almost equal to heads of state. London was the centre of international relations and England no longer under threat of diplomatic isolation. Events like FoCG enhanced prestige.
  • Wolsey and King conducted flexible and reactive foreign policy. Recognised need to ally effectively with powerful countries.
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Failures of Wolsey's Foreign Policy

  • Henry's aims often unrealistic, costly, short sighted and out of date.
  • Few gains from campaigns. Henry spent £1.4 million fighting wars in 1511-1525. Wolsey had to call upon parliamentary taxation and forced loans.
  • Other powers often went behind Henry's back (Ferdinand and Maximilian signing seperate treaties with France.)
  • Wolsey too self-interested. Used international relations to further his own candidature for the papacy. However, he didn't always follow papal policy, had never had any real plan of becoming pope and only put forward his candidature to satisfy Henry.
  • Diplomatic revolution a failure- gave him little chance of obtaining annulment.
  • French alliance unpopular and England didn't have the military resources to frighten Charles.
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