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What did Henry VIII achieve in his life?

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Quick Answer

Henry VIII was the ruler of England for 36 years, and he played a pivotal role in the country's reformation to the Protestant religion. He is also known for having six wives, two that he beheaded for treason and adultery.

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Full Answer

Henry VIII directly caused the shift from Roman Catholicism to the Protestant religion in England. In 1534, he established a separate Church of England in order annul his first marriage without approval from the pope. He declared himself the supreme head of the church and falsely charged Thomas Wolsey, a Catholic cardinal, with treason.

Prosecuting Thomas Wosley was a monumental step because it showed that Henry VIII would not adhere to the whims of high-ranking religious leaders and would instead exercise the full extent of his authority. In 1536, he began to dissolve the monasteries, which helped to increase wealth in England and started the shift to Protestantism.

After fully separating from the Roman Catholic church, the Church of England was completely under British rule. In 1536 and 1537, 30,000 people revolted against the king's changes. This uprising, the Pilgrimage of Grace, was the only event that threatened Henry VIII's power. The result was more than 200 executions, including the execution of the uprising's leader, Robert Asks, as well as some former members of the king's inner circle who refused to take the oath to Henry VIII.

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