Elizabeth the Great Historical Context

Elizabeth Jenkins
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In the historical context of the Protestant Reformation throughout Europe, and the English Reformation at home, Elizabeth's life and reign were characterized by continual conflict between Catholics and Protestants.

For personal and political, rather than religious, reasons, King Henry VIII launched the English Reformation when he instigated England's break with the Catholic Church. From 1527 to 1533, Henry VIII tried unsuccessfully to obtain from the Pope an annulment of his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon. Henry VIII wished to dissolve the marriage in order to marry Anne Boleyn. In 1533, Henry VIII obtained an annulment from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. That year, Pope Clement VII excommunicated Henry VIII from the Catholic Church. In 1534, Henry VIII named himself, rather than the Pope in Rome, head of the Church of England, by the passage of the Act of Supremacy. This break was by no means religiously motivated on the part of Henry...

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Elizabeth the Great from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.