Son of Mary Queen of Scots, was crowned king of England in 1603.
Although a protestant, Irish catholics believed that his family background
disposed him towards toleration of catholicism. Although personally inclined to
freedom of worship, James I had to battle with his image as an interloping Scot
in England. In an attempt to conform to expectations in his new kingdom, James I
became persuaded of the need to pursue policies consistent with English
interests. Consequently, James I disappointed Irish catholics when he sanctioned
penal measures against them, although he managed to temper the more extreme
inclinations his officials.
Copy of a portrait of James I on display in the Harbour Museum, Derry
James I is principally associated with plantations
in Ireland, the most notable of which occurred in Ulster. Often considered an
indolent monarch, James I approached the task of planting Ulster with
‘missionary’ zeal. His Scottish background resulted in large numbers of his
fellow countrymen being granted lands in Ulster.
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