Henry VIII Proclaimed King of Ireland


            Through the 1530s, Henry VIII did as much as he could to antagonize and alienate the Catholic Church and its supporters.  In the twelfth century, the pope established control over all of the islands of Europe in a fraudulent document known as the Donation of Constantine.  Henry was, as were his predecessors, considered Lords of Ireland, but they had little real power.  In an all out assault on the Irish, Henry sent over two thousand men to occupy the land and kill off many of the powerful Fitzgerald family.  With most of the powerful resistance to his claims out of the way, Henry sought to woo the Irish people by introducing them to the Protestant Reformation.  Protestant Irish would be a strong ally against the Roman Catholic Church if they chose to start a conflict.  The final move saw Henry declare himself king of all of Ireland and claim the land for himself.  The nobles could regain their land simply by declaring their allegiance to Henry and his crown.

            Henry may have been the King of Ireland, but he did not control much of the land.  Outside of the Pale (a section of Ireland in the central part of the east coast) the influence of the English did not affect Ireland until the eighteenth century.  Henry did not have the money to put on a full-scale takeover and his executions angered many of the Irish people.  The final problem that Henry faced was the idea that he failed to convert the devoutly Catholic Irish people to Protestantism.  Without any real support of his title, Henry would be forced to maintain only his title and very little of the power that it entailed.