King James I of England
By: Krista Frey
King James I of England

Period 6

The Elizabethan time period took place during the 16th century (1550-1650) in England. There are many differences in how life was then, and to how we live now. An example of how people lived during the Elizabethan Era would be that they had kings and queens to rule over the people of England. James Stuart was one of them, who was crowned King of England on March 25, 1603. He had preceded his cousin Queen Elizabeth I. A horseman came to his palace in Scotland, and told him he was to be the King of England, two days after she died (Phillips 134). The three aspects of King James I life that will be categorized is his background, his reign, and his accomplishments.

James Stuart was born on June 19, 1566, at the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. He was born to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots. When James was eight months old, his father was murdered. Later on, his mother married his father’s murderer. A little after James’ 1st birthday, he was crowned king of Scotland (July 29, 1567). He grew up in the Protestant faith, but spent a lot of time with many Catholic friends. This scared the Protestant nobles, who then kidnapped him at the age of 16, to keep him from falling under their Catholic influences. Therefore, most of his youth was dealing with struggles between Protestants and Catholics. James was known for having a big tongue, and for being drunk and lazy most of the time, which was a huge difference from Queen Elizabeth I. King James was a very educated and intelligent man, and he saw himself as "a man of dignity and authority" (Phillips 134). In 1589, when he was 23, he married Anne of Denmark, who at the time was 15 years old. Altogether they had three sons and four daughters, but only three of their children lived to be adults. During his reign, he was known to have many conflicts with his Parliament. King James I was also known to have a strong attraction to young men. Later in 1625, King James I of England died on the 27th of March at Theobalds, Hertfordshire, from a stroke. Theobalds, Hertfordshire, was where his favorite country palace was located. He was then buried in Westminster Abbey.
King James’ reign in England started on July 25, 1603, when he and his wife were crowned king and queen in Westminster, Abbey. Many thought that his manners and person were much different than the previous Queen's, and were somewhat unwelcoming. He had preceded the late Queen Elizabeth I of England. During his early reign in 1603, he made Shakespeare’s theater group as “King’s Men.” Then in 1604, he made the title “King of Great Britain” for himself, because of his attempt to unite Scotland and England together. This attempt was then turned down by Parliament in 1607. A major concern that James had at the beginning of his reign was that they were in a costly war with Spain at the time. This problem was then fixed in August 18, 1604, with a peace treaty.

Still in his early years as King of England, the
Execution of those who were involved in the Gunpowder Plot, 1611.
re was much rebellion against him, especially within his Parliament. The first conflict was when news was being spread that some of the lords were planning to get rid of King James. Shortly after this plot was discovered, the lords were arrested. Another plan was to terminate the Protestant King, and bring back the Catholicism in England. This plan caused James to create very harsh laws for the Catholics who wouldn’t follow the Church of England. There was yet another plot to get rid of King James, that is perhaps one of the most known. It was called the Gunpowder Plot. This took place on November 5, 1605, and it was planned that Parliament was going to be blown up with gunpowder. This event was quickly destroyed by executing the ones who were involved in it.

On April 10, 1606, the Virginia Companies in London were granted by King James (Phillips 136). During this time period, many settlers set sail to Virginia, but then in 1624, James had abolished the London Company. He later made Virginia the ‘King’s Royal Colony.’ As King James’ reign progressed, he and the Church of England persecuted, or tormented, many Puritans. Some of these Puritans had set sail on the Mayflower in search of a new life, in the late 1620’s. The king would say “I shall make them conform or I will harry them out of the land or else do worse” on behalf of his actions he had displayed (Phillips 137).

During his reign, King James I of England and his wife enjoyed watching many plays by William Shakespeare, which were often performed in the Kings court. The masques, which were a form of a play, were the Royal family’s favorite. The masques would consist of dances and songs, and usually had many costumes involved in each performance, and were based mostly on classical themes. Sometimes, the Queen and her sons took part in performing in the masques.
The Title Page of the First Edition of the King James Bible, 1611.

His reign ended with England close to war with Spain.

Throughout King James’ reign, there were a few accomplishments that he strived to make. One of the biggest achievements, or accomplishments that he made, was that he managed to keep a “peaceful union of the crowns of England and Scotland” (Phillips 134). Later, on May 14, 1607, the city of Jamestown was established by James, in honor of himself. Jamestown became the ‘1st permanent English settlement in North America'. In 1611, he published the King James Version of the Bible; one of his most known accomplishments across the world. He also wrote a few pieces of poetry, especially religious ones, during this time. Although he worked hard as the King of England to fix several conflicts, he had never really achieved any of his main goals that he had planed to achieve.
King James I England reined a total of 59 years (including Scotland). His son, Charles I, preceded him as king, and was left with "the kingdoms finances in disarray and bad relations with king and commons" (Delderfield 77). James would emphasize that 'kings were always above the law.' To some he was known as "the wisest fool in Christendom" (Phillips 134). Throughout his reign, he had many conflicts with religion. He wanted "to make the English have a better attitude toward Scotland" (Delderfield 76). Most of the time lawyers and the House of Commons seemed to be in rivalry of King James. He also had many issues with Parliament and got rid of almost all of them because he had accused them of not helping in his time of financial need. At one time, someone had said of him that he was "a witty, well read scholar who wrote, disputed and harangued, and a nervous, driveling idiot who acted" (Delderfield 77).