It’s good to be king, if just for a while, especially if you were one of the rulers of England during the Tudor period. In our royal quiz, we’ll see if you really know anything about the history of this Western world power, from the reign of Henry VIII to Elizabeth I.
Do you think you know much about the tumult of this long era of English history? Some of England’s kings were relative pacifists, others sought out the blood of their enemies… no matter the cost to his own nation. Do you think you know the primary foes of the English in days of yore?
And what of the queens? Elizabeth I is one of the best-known queens, but do you know her accomplishments? Sure, she’s regarded as a decent ruler, but she also got credit for feats of other people. Can you name them?
This period was a time of religious adversity, political intrigue and war. But it was also a time when the English people thrived. Pick up your scepter, cock your crown and see if you know the history from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I!
From 1485 to 1603, which mostly overlaps with the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, historians refer to England as being in the Tudor period. It’s a famous part of English history.
England has enjoyed a lot of good times in its history, and the Tudor period was no exception. The country was mostly prosperous and enjoyed a powerful role in world issues.
Just prior to the Tudor period, England (and the rest of the world) was devastated by the Black Plague, which killed countless millions of people and upturned societies all over Earth.
England’s population stood at about two million at the beginning of the Tudor period, in large part because the Black Death had swept through Europe and gone Darwin on the country’s towns and cities.
Henry VIII was fed up with the religious leaders of his era. Under his rule, the Reformation transformed many aspects of religious life in England.
Henry wanted an annulment from his wife Catherine of Aragon... but the Pope refused. Once the pope denied his requests, the king set about encouraging the Reformation, which then turned the church inside out.
Henry married six times, and his marriages are one of the reasons he’s so famous in English history. He married repeatedly in an effort to produce a male baby to be his heir.
Henry VIII had no problem wielding his power. During his reign, the concept of royal power expanded by leaps and bounds, giving later kings and queens a much bigger throne to fill.
Henry was known as a maniac when it came to spending — he blew piles of money on personal luxuries and wars that left the country hurting for cash.
Henry liked to do battle, and wars are costly. He was forced to raise taxes repeatedly in order to pay for his many battles.
Henry didn’t tolerate criticism. People who questioned his powers were labeled as dissenters... and then, often executed without trial.
Henry VIII was the first English king to formalize the navy. It eventually became one of his favorite ways to attack his enemies.
England and France have a lot of history of conflict, and the friction drove Henry VIII to war against the French. Those battles, it should be noted, did not always end well.
The queen’s reign was called, of course, the Elizabethan era. Compared with a lot of other reigns, this one was a fairly good for the English people.
Henry’s opulent lifestyle made him more than a little rotund. He was very obese in his later years, a fact that likely contributed to his death at 55 years old.
Henry dissolved monasteries and other organizations within the church. Then he made himself the ultimate ruler of the church and seized many assets for his crown.
Elizabeth wasn’t prone to the excesses of her father. She was very moderate and England was basically a good place to live during her reign.
In the 1580s, England plunged into an (undeclared) war versus Spain. Elizabeth’s navy defeated the Spanish Armada during one battle and the event is still called one of England’s greatest military triumphs.
Elizabeth I never married and was famously virginal, and as such, obviously never gave birth to an heir of any kind.
Henry’s grudge against the church paid off for him, literally. He began taking clerical payments once bound for the pope and instead used that money for government projects, like war.
English drama hit its apex during the queen’s reign. Shakespeare and other great writers created timeless legacies during this period.
Edward wasn’t fond of wars like Henry VIII. He ended the conflicts with both France and Scotland, freeing up England's finances for more constructive purposes.
For 44 years, Elizabeth I brought relative stability to England. Her reign was much longer than the short and tumultuous reigns of her half-siblings.
The Catholic Church was reeling under Henry VIII, and under Edward VI, Protestantism ascended to new heights. Catholic leaders were shaken down for cash, which went to the king’s court.
Edward VI’s reign lasted just a few years. He was crowned king at 9... and then died at 15. Mary I (eventually) succeeded him.
At just 15, Edward took ill. His rapidly declining health created a crisis of succession that sent the power-hungry scrambling for ways to seize the throne.
Mary I set about reversing Edward’s stance on religious powers. She wanted to reduce Protestantism... and bring the Catholic Church back to glory.
Mary I had no use for powerful Protestants in her England. She had many of them burned at the stake, all as part of her effort to make Catholics more dominant.
Mary helped expand colonial exploration and improved aspects of the economy. But "Bloody Mary" was often despised - particularly by Protestants - and the credit for her good deeds went to her successor, Elizabeth I.
Catholic nobles wanted Mary, Queen of Scots in place of Elizabeth I, so they started an uprising. But the rebels ran like crazy when they saw the Royal Army coming for them... and some of the rebels lost their heads.