In England, centralization began under the Anglo-Saxon monarchs, who unifi ed the kingdom and established a system of sheriffs, unpaid offi cials from well-off families responsible for collecting taxes, catching and trying criminals, and raising infantry. After the conquest of England in 1066 by Duke William of Normandy, the Norman kings assessed and collected taxes, required nobles to take oaths of allegiance, and used traveling circuit judges to work for uniform legal procedures throughout the country: what later became known as common law. (English common law is the basis of the legal system in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and many other countries.) Demands for taxes to fi ght the Crusades and war with France led the higher-level nobility to force the king to agree to a settlement limiting his power in 1215. This agreement, known as Magna Carta (Great Charter), has achieved almost mythical stature in history as the foundation of constitutional government, individual rights, and democracy. In reality it made almost no reference to the common people, but simply limited the king’s powers vis-à-vis his barons, particularly his power to demand money. Later in the thirteenth century the king expanded his body of advisors from a group of upper nobility and high-level clergy to include relatively low-level knights and representatives from some towns; this group slowly evolved into a permanent representative body known as Parliament. This representative group gradually claimed the right to approve taxes and statutes, basing this on Magna Carta. The Hundred Years War, fought between England and France from 1337 to 1453 initially over rival claims to the French throne, led to an increase in the power of Parliament, as representatives refused to grant taxes unless the monarch granted something in return. Immediately after the end of the Hundred Years War, the English nobility became embroiled in a civil war and succession controversy between two ducal houses, the Yorkists and the Lancastrians. This war, termed the War of the Roses because the symbol of the Yorkists was a white rose and that of the Lancastrians a red rose, saw fi rst one side and then the other gain the throne. The desire for a reestablishment of order became stronger than either army, and in 1485 Henry Tudor, a Welsh nobleman with weak Lancastrian ties, defeated Yorkist forces and became King Henry VII. He initiated what would become his family’s most important political strategy – astute marriages – marrying the daughter of the popular Yorkist king, Edward IV (ruled 1461–70; 1471–83). Henry VII was shrewd, cautious, and so unwilling to spend money that, as we have seen, courtiers such as Polydore Vergil accused him of being miserly and greedy. He called parliaments a few times early in his reign to confi rm laws, but ruled primarily through his royal council, which included high nobles, high church offi cials, knights, lawyers, and professional civil servants. The council conducted diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments, and set up specialized bodies, such as the courts of Chancery, Requests, and Star Chamber, to handle cases more expeditiously than the common law courts did. Recognizing the importance of foreign trade and a healthy economy, Henry encouraged cloth production and built up the merchant marine to protect shipping; he secured a permanent right to customs duties on cloth exports, which would be an important part of royal revenues from that point forward. Henry VII married his eldest daughter, Margaret, to King James IV of Scotland (ruled 1488–1513), and then arranged a marriage between his son Arthur and Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, the rulers of Spain. Arthur died unexpectedly, and rather than lose this alliance and the dowry Catherine had brought with her, Henry wangled a papal dispensation to allow Catherine to marry his second son, Henry. Marriage to a brother’s widow was technically not allowed in Christian canon law, but the pope in this case was persuaded to allow it with the argument that Arthur and Catherine had been children and thus had not consummated their marriage, along with strong royal pressure and donations to the papal coffers. Henry built up the royal treasury largely by keeping England out of war, a lesson his son Henry VIII (ruled 1509–47) did not learn, though his granddaughter Elizabeth I (ruled 1558–1603) did. Henry VIII’s need for cash to fi ght in Ireland and France was largely met by the confi scation and then sale of church lands following England’s break with the papacy in Rome; had this not happened, the monarchy would have probably gone bankrupt. (For more on the break with Rome, see chapter 5 .) In the early part of her reign Elizabeth avoided becoming involved in the religious and dynastic wars of continental Europe, but by the 1580s this was no longer possible because of Spanish moves in the Netherlands. She needed both loans and taxes approved by Parliament to support troops on land as well as ships at sea. Parliament only met when it was called by the monarch – Elizabeth called it thirteen times in her forty-fi ve-year reign – but once in session, it raised issues of policy beyond the approval of taxes and laws. Elizabeth did not agree with this expanded view of Parliament’s role, and several times imprisoned members of the House of Commons for comments she regarded as seditious; she preferred to govern, as had her father and grandfather, through a small circle of advisors. Though Elizabeth stayed out of continental wars as long as she could, this reluctance to take military measures did not apply to Ireland. Since the twelfth century, English kings had claimed authority over Ireland, backing this up by granting English nobles land in Ireland and by military intervention during times of unrest or rebellion. In the middle of the fi fteenth century, attempts to keep all of Ireland under English control became too expensive. Ireland was unoffi cially divided into the area around Dublin ruled by the English deputy – known as the Pale – and the rest of Ireland controlled by Anglo-Irish and Gaelic lords. There were many revolts against royal overlordship, including one rebellion in the 1530s led by an Anglo-Irish nobleman, Thomas Fitzgerald, tenth earl of Kildare, several in the 1560s–1580s in the southern province of Munster, led by the earls of Desmond, and another in the 1590s led by Hugh O’Neill, third earl of Tyrone. These, combined with Anglo-Irish and Gaelic Irish armed opposition to the Protestant Reformation, led to increasing repression on the part of the English. Slowly English common law was imposed throughout Ireland, with Dublin emerging as the most Anglicized and most prosperous area. English offi cials in Ireland often recommended great brutality, particularly against the Gaelic Irish, whom they regarded as barbarous, pagan, “brutish,” and “bestial.” In the Desmond rebellions, English armies used scorched-earth tactics, destroying villages and crops; famine and disease killed perhaps one-third of the population of the province of Munster in the 1580s. Land was confi scated from Irish Catholics and given to Protestant English and Scottish landholders in what became known as the plantations of Ireland. Settlers were brought in from England, Wales, and Scotland, though there were never as many as the English crown wanted, nor were they as separate from the surrounding Irish as English policy dictated. After Tyrone’s rebellion, the largest plantation was organized in the northern province of Ulster, the site of the most determined resistance to English rule; by 1640, it is estimated that there were about 40,000 “planters” in Ulster, most of them Protestant Scots. This English colonization sowed the seeds of mutual hatred and violence between Catholics and Protestants that has continued to the present day.