JAMES I of England (James VI of Scotland)
JAMES I (of England) (1566-1625), King of England (House of Stuart), (24th March 1603 to 27th March 1625) and, as James VI, King of Scotland (1567-1625).
James I was born on June 19th, 1566, in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband, Lord Darnley. When Mary was forced to abdicate in 1567, he was proclaimed King of Scotland. A succession of regents ruled the kingdom until 1576, when James became nominal ruler. The boy king was little more than a puppet in the hands of political intriguers until 1581. In that year, with the aid of his favourites, James Stuart, Earl of Arran, and Esmé Stuart, Duke of Lennox, James assumed actual rule of Scotland. Scotland was at that time divided domestically by conflict between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics, and in foreign affairs by those favouring an alliance with France and those supporting England. In 1582 James was kidnapped by a group of Protestant nobles headed by William Ruthven, Earl of Gowrie, and was held virtual prisoner until he escaped the next year.
In 1586, by the Treaty of Berwick, James formed an alliance with his cousin, Elizabeth I of England, and the following year, after the execution of his mother, he succeeded in reducing the power of the great Catholic nobles. His marriage to Anne of Denmark in 1589 brought him for a time into close relationship with the Protestants. After the Gowrie conspiracy of 1600, James repressed the Protestants as strongly as he had the Catholics. He replaced the feudal power of the nobility with a strong central government, and maintaining the divine right of kings, he enforced the superiority of the state over the church.
In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died childless, and James succeeded her as James I, the first Stuart king of England. In 1604 he ended England's war with Spain, but his tactless attitude towards Parliament, based on his belief in divine right, led to prolonged conflict. James convoked the Hampton Court Conference (1604), at which he authorized a new translation of the Bible, generally called the King James Version. His undue severity towards Roman Catholics, however, led to the abortive Gunpowder Plot in 1605. James tried unsuccessfully to advance the cause of religious peace in Europe, giving his daughter Elizabeth in marriage to the elector of the Palatinate, Frederick V, the leader of the German Protestants. He also sought to end the conflict by attempting to arrange a marriage between his son, Charles, and the infanta of Spain, effectively the principal Catholic power. When he was rebuffed, he formed an alliance with France and declared war on Spain, effectively contributing to the flames he had tried to quench. James I died on March 27, 1625, and was succeeded to the throne by his son, Charles I.