Tag Archives: power

Today in History – 16 May 1532


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.

 

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Today in History – 30 April 1492


Christopher Columbus: Receives His Commission of Exploration from Castile (Spain)

Christopher Columbus was born between the 22nd August and the 31st October 1451, in Genoa (now in Italy). Contrary to common belief Columbus did not discover America, but he did greatly increase European awareness of the New World.

The maritime career of Christopher Columbus began when he was 10 years old. In the years that followed he undertook a number of journeys on the open sea in various roles on various ships. In 1485 he began looking for an opportunity to explore and discover a western route to Asia. He presented his ideas to the king of Portugal and was ultimately frustrated after several attempts. He also tried England, Genoa, Venice and then Spain (Castile) in 1486. He was frustrated in all these attempts (England eventually agreed, but by that time Columbus was already in league with Castile), but the king and queen of Castile (Ferdinand II and Isabella I) retained his services and after many attempts he finally gained the support of Ferdinand II and Isabella I on this day in 1492.

In all, Columbus would make four voyages between Castile and America. His life would end in great disappointment, having been jailed and having the terms of his contract with Castile overturned due to various claims and convictions of abuse of power and mismanagement of the domains over which he governed in the New World. Columbus died on the 20th May 1506 in Valladolid, Crown of Castile (now in Spain).

 


Today in History – 27 April 1124


Scotland: David I Becomes King

On this day in 1124, upon the death of his brother Alexander I, David (Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim) made himself king of Scotland with the full backing of Henry I of England. He had been Prince of the Cumbrians (1113-1124) before becoming King of Scotland (1124-1153). Cumbria was in effect a separate kingdom to that of Scotland (known as Alba) to the north and became merged with it upon the ascension of David to King of Scotland.

His reign was one of warfare and expansion, with the first 10 years of his reign involving a struggle for power with his nephew (the son of Alexander I) Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair. With the death of Henry I of England, he came into conflict with King Stephen and expanding the Scottish Kingdom into northern England.

David I is seen as a ‘reformer’ in the Scottish Church, setting out to reorganise the church. The map in this post shows the boundaries of the various dioceses he put in place. He is also seen as a reformer of Scotland as a whole, bringing civility to a barbaric country.

David I was born between 1083 and 1085, and died on the 24th May 1153. He is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. He was succeeded by Malcolm IV.

 


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