1522: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie, J. D.

Happy New Year! As we bid farewell to 2022 and greet 2023, I thought we could peer back through the mists of time to 500 years ago. Below are some important events in the Tudor world!

Henry VIII was thirteen years into his reign, which began in January 1509. He was thirty-one years old, married to Katharine of Aragon, and the father of Mary Tudor and his acknowledged natural son, Henry Fitzroy. Cardinal Wolsey was still in favor.

Henry VIII c. 1520, artist unknown, held by the National Portrait Gallery

January 9 — Pope Adrian VI was elected, despite Cardinal Wolsey’s best efforts to have himself elected pope.

February 7 — Charles V and his brother Ferdinand sign the Compact of Brussels, creating Ferdinand the King of the Romans-Germans and dividing the Habsburg lands into a western, Spanish portion and an eastern, Austrian portion

February 25 — William Lily, Latin grammarian, died.

March 4 — Henry VIII might have first noticed Anne Boleyn during a court pageant of “Chateau Vert”.

May — Charles V stops at Dover on his way from the Low Countries down to Spain. Charles and Henry inspect Henry’s ships, including the Henry Grace a Dieu.

Charles V c. 1520, artist unknown

June 6 — Henry VIII and Charles V enter London in grand fashion, similar to the triumphant entries enjoyed by rulers of the Low Countries. Partying ensues.

June 19 — Henry VIII is visited by his nephew through Katharine of Aragon, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Charles persuades Henry to sign the Treaty of Windsor so that Henry will help Charles with the Italian Wars. In exchange, Princess Mary, then not yet six years old, will marry her much-older cousin when she comes of age. Henry had grown frustrated with the antics of the Scottish and French courts, and was keen to balance power by joining with his formidable nephew.

July 1 — Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey attacks Brittany with his naval fleet.

July 5 — Margaret of Parma, illegitimate daughter of Charles V, is born.

July 6 — Henry VIII escorts Charles V to Southampton, from which Charles departs for Spain.

July 25 — Anna of Lorraine, originally betrothed to Wilhelm of Cleves, is born.

August 9 — The Earl of Surrey disembarks in English-held Calais, France with his army

September 2 — The Earl of Surrey and his army join up with Charles V’s mercenary army and attack Picardy, burning the countryside.

September 6 — Juan Sebastian Elcano completes the circumnavigation begun in 1519 and originally led by Ferdinand Magellan, arriving with eighteen of the original 247 sailors in Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain.

September 8 — Elcano formally enters Seville, Spain after returning from his circumnavigation of the globe.

September 21 — Martin Luther publishes his German translation of the New Testament.

October 14 — The Earl of Surrey and his remaining English troops, waylaid by disease and lack of provisions, retreat to Calais earlier than agreed.

October 15 — Hernan Cortes is named Governor of Mexico

December 20 — Suleiman the Magnificent successfully takes over Rhodes and expels the Knights of Rhodes, which is seen as a serious failure by Christians in protecting against the Ottoman threat. The Knights of Rhodes migrate to Malta, and thereafter become the Knights of Malta.

Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, may have been born in 1522. Her exact date of birth is unknown, although it is thought she was born anytime between 1518 and 1524.

While 1522 was not the most eventful year for Henry, several auspicious things happened which would set the tone for the rest of his reign. Chief among those are, domestically, his fateful meeting of Anne Boleyn, and internationally, Martin Luther continuing to publish the Bible in the vernacular.

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