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British history


James VI of Scotland and I of EnglandJames VI of Scotland and I of England After the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, the English throne passed to James VI of Scotland. As James I of England, he became the first of the new line of Stuart kings that ruled both countries until 1714. During this period, the entire country became engulfed in major civil wars that led to the death of a king and the establishment of a republic. The monarchy was later restored and Protestantism was firmly established as the country's religion. The period also saw the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the Great Plague of 1665–66 and the Great Fire of London in 1666.

James I

Eight of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot Eight of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot James I held a strong belief in the Divine Right of Kings: a king had absolute freedom to rule and his only responsibility was to God. As a result of this and his constant need to raise money, he often came into conflict with Parliament. He was no supporter of the Puritans (devout Protestants who believed in greater "purity" of worship in their religion) and also disappointed the Catholics, who had hoped to be given more freedoms than during Elizabeth I's reign. In 1605, a Catholic plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the Gunpowder Plot, to be carried out by Guy Fawkes and others, was uncovered. During James's reign, a new version of the Bible, the King James Bible (1611), was published.

When Charles I was beheaded in January 1649, he asked to wear two shirts so that the crowd would not mistake his shivering from cold as being afraid.

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