Henry VII (1457 to 1509) was the son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond (1430 to 1456) and Margaret Beaufort Countess of Richmond (and Derby and a descendant of John of Gaunt the Duke of Lancaster). He was born on the 28 January 1457 in Pembroke Castle Wales. Henry was forced to take refuge in Brittany following Edward IV's seizure of the throne in 1471 from Henry VI. On the death of the former king in the same year Henry Tudor became head of the house of Lancaster.
Edward was succeeded by Richard III who lost any vestiges of popular support by the murder, supposedly on his orders, of his two nephews Edward V and Richard, Duke of York in the Tower of London. Henry Tudor took advantage of public indignation by returning to Wales where he raised an army of supporters. In 1485 he defeated Richard at Bosworth Field. Richard was killed and Henry was subsequently crowned king.
In the year following he married the Yorkist heiress, Elizabeth (1465-1503), eldest daughter of Edward IV, thus uniting the houses of York and Lancaster and bringing an end to the Wars of the Roses. His 24 year reign (1485 to 1509) was by comparison a period of national unity.
Nonetheless he still had to contend with a number of Yorkist uprisings notably one led by Lambert Simnel (c. 1471-1534), who claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick (1475-1499), the last Yorkist claimant to the throne. In fact the real Earl of Warwick was imprisoned by Henry in the Tower of London. Another uprising was led by the Walloon impostor Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the murdered sons of Edward IV. Although both had strong support in England and overseas, their forces were defeated by Henry. In 1494 Henry sent the English statesman Sir Edward Poynings (1459-1521) to Ireland to re-establish English control in that country.
Henry maintained peaceful relations with Austria, France and Spain for most of his reign. Henry strengthened his power at the expense of the the nobles through reorganisation in 1487 of the Star Chamber the civil and criminal court that dealt primarily with Crown interests.
He created a second town of Richmond by naming his palace near London after the North Yorkshire town of which he was Earl. Henry died in Richmond, Surrey (the "new town") on April 21, 1509. He was succeeded by his second son, Henry VIII.
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Primary source: Microsoft Encarta