On this day in 1522, John Jewel, the English Bishop of Salisbury was born. He studied at Oxford.
Jewel was known to the early English Reformers, including Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley who were both martyred for their faith. Though he signed Catholic articles of faith, he fled to Continental Europe.
Under Elizabeth I, Jewel returned to England, where he became involved in the Elizabethan reforms to the Church of England.
On this day in 1521, the Diet of Worms began in Worms, Germany. This assembly was held from the 28th January until the 25th May 1521, with the Emperor (Charles V) presiding.
The Diet of Worms held in 1521 was memorable because it was the assembly which investigated Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. It was at this assembly that Luther was condemned as a heretic.
England: Sir Thomas More Resigns His Office as Lord Chancellor of England
Sir Thomas More was born on the 7th February 1478. More’s political career began modestly enough, but rose through the ranks of power to become Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he eventually ran into conflict with the king over the issue of papal authority versus that of the king. It was to be his undoing before Henry VIII, as he was unable to accept the Act of Supremacy.
On this day in 1532, Sir Thomas More resigned his office as Lord Chancellor of England, citing health issues. The true cause of his resignation was undoubtedly his position on the royal claim to supremacy in England.
Eventually his position led to his total fall from grace and he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was then tried for treason and finally beheaded on the 6th July 1535.
More had been an aggressive and vocal opponent of the reformation within Henry VIII’s inner circle. He was a severe persecutor of the Protestants and the church, being a staunch Roman Catholic (recognized by Roman Catholicism as a saint) to the bitter end.
Henry VIII was born Henry Tudor, to Henry VII (King of England) and Elizabeth of York on the 28th June 1491. His reign began on this day in 1509 and continued until his death on the 28th January 1547. He succeeded his father, Henry VII as King of England, Lord of Ireland and claimant to the throne of France. his reign lasted over 37 years and was perhaps one of the greatest (certainly one of the most powerful) kings in English history – not that this necessarily made him a great man.
Henry VIII is well known for his six wives and what became of them. He is also known for the part he played in the English Reformation. His split with the Roman Catholic Church saw the advance of Protestantism and the Reformation in England, though he remained theologically ‘Roman Catholic.’
Sir Francis Drake Destroys the Spanish Fleet in Cadiz, Spain
War had broken out (Anglo-Spanish War of 1585 to 1604) between the Spanish and English – between Roman Catholic Spain and Protestant England. But it was more than just a religious war, for there were also political and economic agitations. English privateers were having a major impact on Spanish shipping. English support for the Netherlands in their fight for independence against Spain and also their support for an alternative Portuguese ruler (Portugal were in league with Spain) were a constant annoyance to the Spanish Empire. England saw Spain as a major threat to their security. Soon it was war, with Spain determined to invade England and crush Protestantism in its infancy.
Sir Francis Drake had been one of the thorns in Spain’s side, acting as a privateer in the Spanish Indies and taking many a Spanish ship as a prize. He was given command of an English fleet and set out to attack the Spanish on the 12th April 1587. On the 19th April 1587, Sir Francis Drake carried out what he described as having ‘singed the beard of the King of Spain,’ by sinking the Spanish fleet at harbor in the Bay of Cadiz, Spain. Up to 33 ships were destroyed and four were captured. This occurred the year prior to the sinking of the Spanish Armada during the attempted invasion of England.
When the fleet returned to England on the 6th of July, they had sunk over 100 enemy vessels and suceeded in setting back the planned Spanish invasion of England by a year. Drake had already sealed his place in history as one of England’s heroes, but his work had only just begun.
On this day in 1524, navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano, discovered New York Bay. Verrazzano was employed by the French king, Francis I, to find a sea route to the Pacific Ocean in order to reach China. After a failed first expedition, Verrazzano in the ‘La Dauphine,’ left France on the 17th January 1524 for the North American mainland. Once in American waters he explored the east coast of North America, including the area from North Carolina to New York. During his journey he came into contact with native American Indians and entered the Hudson River. The area explored by Verrazano was named ‘New France.’
Verrazzano is thought to have been born in 1485, south of Florence in Italy, though more recent research would suggest he was born in Lyon, France. Verrazzano died during a third trip to America, when he was killed and eaten by native Carib Indians on the island of Guadeloupe in 1528.
As with any other day, there was plenty more that happened on this day in history. Among the more important events on this day in the past were:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find the Indies.
In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1534, Sir Thomas Moore was confined in the Tower of London.