Wars of the Roses

Wars of the Roses
   Series of sporadic civil wars among con-tending factions of the English royal family and their aristocratic sup-porters (1455-1485). The underlying causes of the wars were the un-resolved questions of the extent of the king's personal authority, the transformation of the higher nobility into military adventurers and subcontractors during the Hundred Years' War, and the inability of the crown's traditional sources of revenue to meet the financial needs of government. More immediately responsible, however, was the pe-riodic insanity of King Henry VI, which made it impossible to estab-lish firm royal control over the agencies of government and produced bitter rivalries among factions of the high nobility who had become financially dependent on their ability to control royal patronage and revenues. The ruling Lancastrian dynasty had usurped the throne by force in 1399, and the king's illness motivated Richard, duke of York, to rebel aganst his own exclusion from the council of regency set up to run the government during the king's incapacity. A further cause of civil war was recriminations over the defeat of the English in the fi-nal campaign of the Hundred Years' War.
   The internal struggle led to the death of Duke Richard of York in battle, the dethronement of Henry VI by Richard's son Edward, duke of York, in 1461, a brief restoration of Henry VI by the Lancastrian faction in 1470, and a resurgence of Yorkist power with the aid of the duke of Burgundy in 1471. Once restored to power, the Yorkist king, Edward IV, managed to impose a measure of internal order, but his early death, leaving two minor sons in charge of his brother, Richard, duke of Gloucester, ended in the usurpation of the throne by Glouces-ter (who ruled as Richard III from 1483 to 1485), and he in turn was defeated and killed in battle by a distant relative of the Lancastrian kings, Henry Tudor, who took the throne as Henry VII. The new Tu-dor dynasty ruled England until the death of its last direct member, Elizabeth I, in 1603.
   The term "Wars of the Roses" is something of a misnomer. Accord-ing to tradition, the white rose had been the symbol of the house of York and the red rose, of the house of Lancaster, but the term was applied only later, no doubt as part of the successful propaganda of Henry VII, who married the daughter of the Yorkist king Edward IV, to present his victory as a permanent solution of the dynastic problems that had led to civil war. Traditional historiography associates the beginning of the English Renaissance with the new Tudor dynasty and records the Wars of the Roses as the last act in English medieval history, but this is largely a product of Tudor propaganda: the wars occurred during a period when Renaissance art and humanistic culture were reaching their peak in Italy and when influences from Italy were already beginning to attract educated persons in both England and France.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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  • Wars of the Roses — The Wars of the Roses (1455–1485) were a series of dynastic civil wars fought in England between supporters of the Houses of Lancaster and York. Although armed clashes had occurred previously between supporters of Lancastrian King Henry VI and… …   Wikipedia

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  • Wars of the Roses — Wars of the Ros|es, the the period of ↑civil war in England (1455 85), between two parts of the English royal family, which each wanted its own leader to be king. One family was called Lancaster, and was represented by a red rose, and the other… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Wars of the Roses — n. the English civil war (1455 85) fought between the house of York, whose emblem was a white rose, and the house of Lancaster, whose emblem was a red rose: the war ended with the establishment of the house of Tudor on the English throne …   English World dictionary

  • Wars of the Roses — Rose Rose, n. [AS. rose, L. rosa, probably akin to Gr. ?, Armor. vard, OPer. vareda; and perhaps to E. wort: cf. F. rose, from the Latin. Cf. {Copperas}, {Rhododendron}.] 1. A flower and shrub of any species of the genus {Rosa}, of which there… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wars of the Roses — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Wars of the Roses, Naming of —    “Wars of the Roses” is a modern term used to describe the intermittent civil conflicts that occurred in fifteenth century England between partisans of the houses of LANCASTER and YORK. Sir Walter Scott is usually credited with coining the term …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Wars of the Roses (disambiguation) — The Wars of the Roses (1455–1487) were a series of dynastic civil wars fought in Medieval England between the House of York and the House of Lancaster. The War or Wars of the Roses may also refer to:* The War of The Roses , a novel by Warren… …   Wikipedia

  • Wars of the Roses, Causes of —    Civil war erupted in fifteenth century England for many interrelated reasons. While Tudor and Elizabethan commentators found the chief cause of the conflict in the 1399 deposition of Richard II and its attendant break in the legal line of… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

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