The Stuart inheritance
In 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England from his cousin, Elizabeth I. Although he had enjoyed a relatively successful reign as King of Scotland, his new kingdom presented quite a different set of challenges. England was larger, wealthier and more heavily populated than Scotland, and was a far more significant player on the international stage. It also differed significantly in its religious, political and economic make-up. James was fully aware of England’s relative wealth, a prospect that he apparently relished, likening himself to a ‘poor man’ who had finally arrived in ‘the land of promise’. However, in order to provide his subjects with effective government, he would also need to develop an understanding of other aspects of England’s make-up.