Monday, 13 July 2009

State Papers Online Part II goes live

by Kathryn Hadley

The first part of the State Papers Online Project was completed last November when 200 volumes of papers containing a complete collection of the Domestic State Papers from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I became available online. Last Thursday, July 9th, to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne, State Papers Online Part II was released online by Gale, part of Cengage Learning, in conjunction with The National Archives. The aim of the State Papers Online project is to create an online database of the domestic and foreign State Papers and Registers of the Privy Council from 1509 to 1714, making them accessible to academics and the general public and providing a new resource for the study of early modern Britain and Europe.

Part II of the collection includes Foreign, Scotland, Borders and Ireland papers for the 16th century as well as the Registers of the Privy Council for the whole of the Tudor period. The papers provide an insight into some of the most important international historic events and themes from 1509 to 1603, including marriage contracts, wars and treaties, trade and commerce and religion. The manuscripts notably document the French wars of religion between 1562 and 1598, the 1541 Act raising Ireland into a kingdom annexed to the Crown of England, England’s defeat of Philip II of Spain’s Grand Armada in 1588 and England’s relations with Denmark, Flanders, France, the Holy Roman Empire, Holland and Flanders, the Italian State and Rome, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Savoy and Sardinia, Sicily and Naples, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, for example. They include correspondence written and received by the ruling monarchs of the time as well as that their courtiers, administrators, judges and clergy. It is notably possible to read in Elizabeth I’s own hand, her efforts to appease the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, her views on her engagement to the Duke of Anjou and on Mary Queen of Scots’ trial and execution.

In the words of Mark Holland, Publisher at Cengage Learning:
‘With Part II, we are publishing the enormously important ‘Foreign’ section of
the State Papers: the letters between the English government and European powers
at a time when England was at the centre of international affairs, and events
here had repercussions across Europe.’

Parts III and IV contain the 17th-century State Papers Domestic and Foreign covering the reigns of the Stuarts from King James I to Queen Anne, from 1603 to 1714. They are due to be released in 2010 and 2011.

For further information, visit

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