Henry VII & The Englisch Reformation/
Henry VII was succeeded in 1509 by Henry VIII. Henry´s first marriage to Catherine of Aragon failed to produce an heir so the king, in 1527, determined that this union should be annulled. As the Pope refused to co-operate, Henry VIII defied the Catholic Church. He founded the Church of England, in which he himself was the Supreme head. If anyone refused to go along with his plan, he ordered this person to be executed(including his chancellor Sir Thomas Moore). The dissolution of the monasteries transformed the face of the medieval city.
A more positive happening of Henry´s reign was that he developed a professional navy and founded the Royal Dockyards at Woolwhich. He also established palaces at Hampton Court and Whitehall, and built a residence at St. James´s Palace. Much of the land annexed for hunting became the royal parks , including Hyde, Regent´s and Greenwich park.
There was a brief Catholic revival under Queen Mary(1553-58), and her marriage to Philip II of Spain. She had 300 Protestants burned, earning her the nickname "Bloody Mary".
Elizabeth I´s reign(1558-1603) saw a flowering of English commerce and arts. In 1566 Sir Thomas Gresham founded the first trading centre in London, the Royal exchange. The merchant ventures and the first joint-stock companies established new trading enterprises. In 1580, Elizabeth knighted Sir Francis Drake on his return from a three-year circumnavigation. Eight years later, Drake and Howard defeated the Spanish Armada.
Because of the trade increased, London had a population of 200000 in 1600. But many people lived in dirt, with plague and fire as constant hazards. The glory of the Elizabethan Era was the development of English drama, popular with all social classes. Two famous rival theatres, the Rose(1587) and the Globe(1599), were erected on the south of the Thames at bankside. It was here that the plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare were performed.
The Tudor dynasty ended with Elizabeth´s death in 1603. Her successor, the Stuart King James I, narrowly escaped assassination on November 5th 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Plot were discovered underneath the Palace of Westminster. The Gunpowder Plot was a protest at the failure to improve conditions for the persecuted Catholics
Charles I succeeded his father in 1625 and gradually fell out with the city of London. The last straw came in 1642 when he intruded in the Houses of Parliament in an attempt to arrest five Members of Parliament. The country slid into a civil war(1642-49) between the supporters of the parliament(led by the Puritan Oliver Cromwell) and those of the king.
Both sides knew that the control of the country´s major city and port was vital for victory. The sympathies of the London citizens were with the Parliamenterians and in 1642 24,000 of them assembled at Turnham Green to fight against the army of Charles. He was never too seriously threatening the capital again and, eventually, the Royalists were defeated. Charles was declared guilty and , on January 30th 1649, was beheaded outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
For the next 11 years the country was ruled as a commonwealth country by Cromwell. In 1660 Charles II returned from his exil and was crowned to the new king.
Plague, Fire & The "Glorious Revolution"
There were two major catastrophes under Charles´s reign in the capital. In 1665, the most serious outbreak of the bubonic plague since the black death devastated the capital´s population. Nearly 100000 Londoners died. And in September 1666, another catastrophe struck. The fire that spread from a carelessly tended oven in a bakery in Pudding Lane was to rage for three days and consume four-fifths of the city, including 87 churches, 44 livery company halls and more than 13,000 houses.
Here was the chance to rebuild as a spacious, rationally planned modern city. Many blueprints were made, but the city was rebuilt in a medival construction. But a new St. Paul´s was built, this was the first Protestanic church of the world. Many residents moved up to the West End. In the city the Royal Exchange was rebuilt, but merchants increasingly used the new coffee houses to exchange news. The City was emerging as a financial centre.
Anti Catholic feelings still ran high, so the accession of the Catholic James in 1685 aroused fears of return to Catholicism. So William of Orange, a Dutch Protestant, was invited to take the throne with his wife Mary Stuart(James´s daughter). One of the most significant developments in William´s reign was the founding of the Bank of England in 1694.