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James VI of Scotland

When Elizabeth died, the crown of England passed to James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary Stuart and Lord Darnley. He became the king of England with the title of James I. His reign marked the beginning of the Stuart period. But with him, relations between Crown and Parliament grew worse. The Tudor monarchs had always realized that their strength came from Parliament and the people. But James believed that the king ruled by divine right. He only called Parliament when he needed money. In fact he changed many taxes without consulting P. and in religious matters he disappointed both the Puritans and the Catholics. He decided to uphold the Anglican religion, as established by law. A group of Catholics contrived the Gunpowder Plot, through which they wanted to paralyze government by blowing up the king and Parliament at the official opening. But the conspiracy was discovered and a group of Catholics, including Guy Fawkes, were executed. The anti-Catholic laws were severer. In 1620 a group of Protestants, the Pilgrim Fathers, sailed on board the Mayflower and landed in North America, founding New Plymouth. It was during James I’s reign that Britain’s colonial empire was actually started.

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