The relationship between Ireland and Tudor England was a complex one and in many ways it was a colonial one but it also differed wildly from other colonies set up by England. Before we can test the nature of the relationship between both England and Ireland, it would be a good idea to establish what exactly a colony is and what one means by colonialism. We will tend look at America and how it was colony and then highlight some Irish examples but also show how Irish Tudor relation were a different proposition to the New World.
Colony, Colonial and Colonialism
So what are these concepts? Frederick Cooper in his work Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History said that colonialism is ‘the bringing of new territory into use by an expanding society, including settlements for trade and agriculture’ (Fredrick Cooper 2005). It can solve the problem of having too many mouths to feed and the strain it has on resources. It can help solve the problem of discontent within society by offering the chance of a new life with possibilities of bettering themselves. Furthermore, not only will it reduce the strain on the demand for resources within a society but it can open up ventures that will supply a whole new area for the exploit of resources. The territorial ambitions can be in response to stopping another power growing, by taking up these new lands and resources. So a colony is a group of people who have left their native country to form a settlement subject to, or connected with the motherland. They might have their own form of administrative system but in fact they might be totally subject to the power of its home nation in such a way that their own parliament could not meet or pass any rulings without permission of said power (Cooper 2005).
The Americas – An Example
English original overseas expansions in this area of the globe were entirely the work of private enterprise until the 1650’s. British incursions into the St. Lawrence region in Canada can be seen as one of the first attempts by the English to set up a colony on the North American continent. The motives involved include all of those detailed in the last paragraph: the desire to out compete with the French in that, who themselves had set up a fishing and fur trade in the area: it also had the intentions of settling English non conformists in that area; there was also economic desires to tap into the lucrative market in this area, one example would be Lord Burghley and his intent in hunting Walrus for their ‘train oil’ that would be used in soap and clothing industry. In the end the venture was a failure (Quinn 1974).
It wasn’t till the 1650’s till England began to take a bigger interest in the area; one of these interests was in terms of trade. They began to set up strict regulations in the area of shipping, importing and exporting. Such laws were passed as the Navigation Act of 1651 – which stated that all goods sent from colonies, were to be sent to England only by ships captained by an Englishman and this act was followed by The Navigation Act of 1660 which further restricted the transport of trade goods. These acts covered every area of trade from transport, to materials and what could be produced (Quinn 1974). They also had a big part to play in the running of these colonies. In the North American colonies, the British crown had the last say in the areas of supervision and direction of imperial relations within the colonies. New York did not have a representative assembly till 1683 and even then James II ordered its Charter of Liberates repealed and decided that only government could levy taxes upon them, amongst other things. Even the positions of power in the colonies like, governors, were sold to people of power in England, lords, they might not even of set foot in the land, in financial straits looking to make some money shipped their power out to someone else, Deputy Lieutenants, and they would split the wage between...
Bibliography: Brown, D (2001) Bury my heart at Wounded Knee: an Indian history of the American West, New York: H. Holt
Cooper, F. (2005) Colonialism in question: theory, knowledge, history, London: University of California Press
Ellis, S.G. (1998) Ireland in the Age of Tudors 1447-1603: English Expansion and the End of Gaelic Rule, New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc.
Gillespie, R. (2006) Seventeenth Century Ireland: Making Modern Ireland, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan
Lennon, C. (1994) Sixteenth Century Ireland: The Incomplete Conquest, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan
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