Reformation Europe – Protestants

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Catherine de Medici, a white woman with dark hair and pearls

Catherine de Medici, Queen of France

By the time Francis I of France and Henry VIII of England both died in 1547 AD, attacks by the Ottoman Empire were less of a problem. But civil war within Europe was more of a problem. All of Europe was beginning to fall into the Wars of Religion. Catholic rulers were fighting a widespread Protestant people’s movement. From 1560 to 1589 France was mostly under the control of Francis’ son’s wife Catherine de Medici. She managed to keep all her sons on the throne, but she could not stop the civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. Catherine also negotiated with the Ottoman ruler, Nurbanu Sultan, to try to unite against the Holy Roman Empire. But she didn’t have any more success than Francis had.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary

England also continued to suffer religious civil wars, first under Henry’s daughter Queen Mary (a Catholic known as Bloody Mary) and then after 1558 under Mary’s sister Queen Elizabeth (a Protestant).

Queen Elizabeth I of England

Queen Elizabeth I of England

Charles Quint, on the other hand, did succeed in walking that narrow line between Catholics and Protestants. He kept peace in both Spain (as a Catholic country) and Germany (mainly as a Protestant country) and ruled both.

So the Wars of Religion got worse after Charles Quint died in 1558 AD. With Charles and Mary gone, England’s new Queen Elizabeth abandoned Charles’ alliance with England. She began to seize control of world shipping as Charles had done before. Now Elizabeth’s friend and admiral Sir Francis Drake attacked and burned Spanish ships.

Nurbanu Sultan

Nurbanu Sultan

Elizabeth also tried to make an alliance with the Ottoman ruler Nurbanu Sultan against Spain. Elizabeth suggested that Protestants like herself were closer to Islam than Catholics, because they didn’t worship statues and believed in only one God instead of the saints. But this came to nothing, because Nurbanu died in 1583.

Philip II of Spai

Charles V’s successors in Spain finally tried to destroy England’s fleet in 1588, but they lost. Elizabeth’s navy(helped out by a big storm) destroyed the Spanish Armada (the ships). It was a great victory for England  – and a great defeat for Spain. From then on, England controlled world trade – including buying African people and selling them as slaves in the Americas – and got richer and richer as AfricaIndia, and Central Asia got poorer. By 1600, British settlers were beginning to take land along the East Coast of North America from the Iroquois and other Native people.

Early Modern Spain
Austria-Hungary
Early Modern France
Early Modern England

Bibliography and further reading about Europe during the Reformation:

 

Early Modern Spain
Austria-Hungary
Early Modern France
Early Modern England
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By | 2017-08-06T00:18:06+00:00 August 6th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Reformation Europe – Protestants. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 6, 2017. Web. December 14, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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