Trivia Break: Asking You a Question

>> Friday, August 7, 2009

Alright, I should write a blog, but my sister's in town and I'm falling behind. Expect blog posts to be spotty.

Instead of a trivia bit, I'll ask a trivia question. Tomorrow, I'll tell you the answer.

What were the six wives of Henry VIII of England?

And why do his marriages play into the settlement of North America?

Have fun.

(Actually, this might be a lot more fun than the way I did previous trivia breaks)


  • Shakespeare

    Let me see...

    Catherine Parr was one... Anne Boleyn the second... Jane Seymour (Seymore?), and Catherine of Aragon was first... can't say I remember the other ones... though I should remember them.

    The significance of their presence to New World exploration? Can't say I know for certain, but I assume Henry VIII's policies and egomania had a greater effect on it... would love to find out the answer.

  • Aron Sora

    It could be the his action made the feelings that one is obligated to reproduce more extreme. Also, his actions may have made it seem that marriage was suppose to bring happiness and if it didn't, the marriage was a mistake. This would cause a huge increase in human population, forcing people to move out.

  • Roy

    Okay, let's see... The wives: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, there was a Howard in there somewhere (another Catherine maybe?). And there memory fails.

    The link with American settlement is pretty forthright; Catherine of Aragon was Queen Isabella'a daughter, Queen Isabella being the one who sponsored Columbus's trip to the New World. Or were you looking for something else? Maybe the fact that Henry's split from Rome over his desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon gave rise to Protestantism in England, and it was radical Protestants who first settled New England. Those are the only links I can see.

    Yeah, ages ago when I went to college, I was a history major.

  • Stephanie B

    I'm not going to help or hint. Tomorrow, I will reveal my brilliance. Or whatever I have with me.

  • The Mother

    Roy beat me to it. But he left out the juicy bits:

    Us docs currently believe that Henry, a well-known philander all his life, had syphilis. His first children with the first two wives were fairly healthy, followed by numerous stillbirths and miscarriages, classic for syphilis.

    1st wife: Catherine of Aragon, his brother's widow (whom he married to maintain the Spanish ties and dowry), which is what he used to divorce her years later when she failed to give him the required son.

    Anne Boleyn, who also failed to produce son, discarded with a frame up job, convicted of witchcraft and incest (with her brother).

    Jane Seymour, who did manage to produce the required son, but died of the dreaded puerperal fever after a very difficult labor. (Edward was sickly all his life and probably had congenital syphilis).

    Anne of Cleeves, not apparently a beauty, who Henry married without meeting her. She wasn't up to snuff and he divorced her as soon as his lawyers could figure out how to make it work (incidentally, Cromwell lost his head over this whole incident).

    Catherine Howard, who was convicted of adultery shortly thereafter. She probably really did it, which says something about her intellect.

    Catherine Parr, a maternal figure who attempted to mend fences between Henry and his two daughters. She also took custody of Elizabeth after Henry died.

    As for his legacy: The protestant conversion of England was the biggie. He did it entirely because he wanted rid of Catherine of Aragon, and then he figured out that it could be a real source of wealth, as he shut down monasteries and confiscated their wealth.

    Failing to produce a protestant male heir who could live long enough to reproduce, though, left England in a religious war for the next twenty years. Finally, Elizabeth took the throne and cooled everything off by attempting to be reasonable about the whole religion thing. She also was a major patron of the English pirates who were exploring the new world, largely to prevent Catholic Spain from controlling yet another continent. This is probably the biggest lasting impact of Henry's syphilis on America--without it, we'd all be speaking French and Spanish.

  • JD at I Do Things

    Ooh, I love reading historical fiction about Henry VIII and his wives. Mind you, a lot of it heavier on the fiction than the history.

    Katharine of Aragon
    Anne Boleyn
    Jane Seymour
    Anne of Cleves
    Catherine Howard
    Catherine Parr

    And I agree with The Mother, above, whose comment I couldn't help reading. Had Anne Boleyn not convinced Henry to begin his own Church of England, the events that transpired to put Elizabeth on the throne would never have occurred.

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