How Successful Was Henry Vii’s Foreign Policy?

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How successful was Henry VII’s foreign policy? Success is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “accomplishing a desired aim or result.” Therefore Henry’s aims must be clarified before success can be measured. According to some, people his greatest aim was the acquisition of wealth, through trade or otherwise, but it could also be argued that his greatest concern was that of security, be it personal, diplomatic or dynastic. He also aimed to earn prestige throughout Europe and to explore the New World, and he wished to avoid war, as it was both costly and unpopular. It is true that wealth was a great concern. One of his aims to maintain trade with Burgundy, as it had control of Antwerp, the hub at the centre of the wool trade. England produced wool that was desired across Europe for its high quality, but they needed somewhere to sell it. Henry, however, did not succeed in maintaining trade with Burgundy, choosing security over wealth. Margaret of Burgundy was the sister of Henry’s Yorkist predecessors, Edward IV and Richard III, and as such she wished for a return of Yorkist rule to England. She supported the Simnel and Warbeck rebellions, going as far as to harbour Warbeck at Flanders. Rather than declare war on Burgundy, Henry imposed economic sanctions on Burgundy in 1493 wherein no trade would take place between England and Burgundy, which was economically damaging to both, but Henry needed to ensure his security. In 1496 the Magnus Intercursus was signed between the two countries, stating that, amongst other things, trade would resume between them (though this will tilted in Henry’s favour so much that the native Burgundians called it “Mallus Intercursus”) and that they would not harbour enemies of each other respectively, meaning that people such as the De La Poles and Warbeck. Though initially this was an economic failure because of the three years of
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