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James VI succeded Elizabeth I in 1603 as James I, first Stuart king of England.
He was a Protestant and a learned man and believed in witchcraft. During his reign, he joined Scotland to England and Wales as one kingdom known as Great Britain; introduced a common flag, the Union Jack and common coinage.
He ignored Parliament and based his rule on the theory of divine rights of kings: he believed he was the representative of God on Earth.
He settled in London where he took under royal patronage Shakespeare's companu which became the King's men. He ordered the building of the Queen's House at Greenwih by Inigo Jones.

The Gunpowder plot
A year after his coronation the King held a conference at Somerset House to sign a peace treaty with Spain. This put an end to Spanish claims on English throne and to English attacks on Spanish ships. In 1604 at Hampton Court the King met the representarives of bishops and puritans to try to solve the conflict between them.
During all this time the Catholics were excluded from Hampton Court so a group of them led by Guy Fawks organised the Gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament on 5 November 1605. The cospiracy was found out and the plotters were executed. The Governament encouraged public celebration at the failure of the plot which is known as Bonfire Night.
The Church of England identified uniformity with the security of the State and dissent was treated as treason. The consequence was the emigration of many dissenters to the New World. In 1620 the Pilgrims Fathers left England for America on the Mayflower and founded Plymouth in Massachusetts
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