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Henry VII: England's Greatest King

Updated on January 19, 2018
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The author is a student of ancient and modern European history.

Coat of Arms of Henry VII
Coat of Arms of Henry VII


England was once considered an island on the edge of the world. It stood at the border of the Roman Empire as a far away trading post that held little significance for the world, but it became the largest empire the world has ever seen, and was composed of a a quarter of the world's landmass while containing one out of five people living on Earth.

Throughout its long history England has had many kings and queens who are famous throughout the world for their deeds. Under the British monarchy the people of the British isles have experienced a degree of freedom and safety unseen in the rest of the world. There have been few rebellions, and even fewer monarchs have been killed by their subjects.

With such a variety of English monarchs it is hard to determine which one is best, or who did the most for the success of the English people. Under the Saxon kings England was given a cultural base for constitutional monarchy. William the Conqueror established a unified country and a hereditary dynasty. The Tudor kings and queens gave England it's protestantism. Despite this, the greatest leader England has ever had was Henry VII, King of England and of France and Lord of Ireland

Henry VII
Henry VII

Why Henry VII?

Henry VII laid the groundwork for his successors to maintain independence and freedom. Henry helped to Anglicize England he created a dynasty that has dominated England ever since. His success was far from assured though as he ascended in a time of English weakness.

The War of Roses depleted the royal treasury, and it allowed France to reclaim land lost to Henry V. At home England was shattered and suffering from brigandry at the end of the war. Henry VII reversed both of England's internal problems through aggressive taxation which allowed for the treasury to be rebuilt, and even left a surplus for Henry VIII when Henry VII died.

Henry VII used the Court of Star Chamber, a royal court, to deal with disloyal nobles and quickly quash problems. This helped to strengthen the crown as well as deal with brigands throughout England. With the success of these actions England’s internal dilemnas were solved.


Henry VII helped to reunify England after the War of the Roses. Henry's reign saw the creation of a dynasty that ruled England for over a hundred years, and his descendents rule England to this day. Royal power was restored under Henry VII and was not disrupted again until the English Civil War. Finally, Henry left a large treasury for his successors that allowed England to remain prosperous and safe without heavily taxing their people.

For these reasons and more Henry VII should be considered the greatest English monarch of all time.


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