King James I Biography

King James I was the king of England and Ireland. Read about his profile, childhood, life and timeline in his biography below.

Quick Facts

Birth Date:
June 19, 1566
Died At Age:
Sun Sign:
Born in:
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Mary, Queen of Scots
James Stewart, Earl of Moray (half brother)
Anne of Denmark
Charles I of England, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, Mary Stuart, Sophia Stuart, Margaret Stuart, Robert Stuart, Duke of Kintyre
Died on:
March 27, 1625
place of death:
Theobalds House, England

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King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England was celebrated for eliminating years of strife in England as well as in Scotland, by maintaining peace within and outside both the kingdoms. He was also a literary enthusiast and his court consisted of some of the greatest literary figures of all times, including William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon. His political accomplishments were not much in comparison to his predecessor, Queen Elizabeth I, but whatever little he did, he made sure that his kingdoms were at peace. According to some historians, he was a success in Scotland and a partial failure in England, but some others are of belief that he enjoyed a favorable position in the both the kingdoms. Though his empires did not flourish (economically) much under him, his people lived in tranquility with no wars or battles to disrupt their lives. Also, his low taxation policy had earned the love and respect of his countrymen. James was a scholarly man and all his life he patronized arts, music and literature. His translation of Bible is considered the best by many people and also bears his name, ‘King James Bible’. He was also extremely religious and to promote his religious views he propagandized the church by publishing sermons and writing books on sovereignty and divinity. Scroll down to know more about him.

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King James I
Childhood & Early Life
  • James was born to Mary, Queen of the Scots, and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, her second husband.
  • His father was murdered in 1567 and his mother was forced to renounce her powers in favor of her son and let her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray act as a regent.
  • The infant prince was only thirteen months old when he was crowned the King of Scotland on 29 July 1567.
  • As a young boy, he was tutored by poet George Buchanan, under whom he became an accomplished scholar.
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Accession & Reign
  • In 1576, James became the titular ruler of Scotland and gained complete control of the throne in 1581.
  • Under the Treaty of Berwick, he and Queen Elizabeth I of England became allies and the following year his mother, who was imprisoned, was put to death.
  • In 1603, after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, he was declared the King of the joint kingdom of England and Ireland. Later, He moved to London from Scotland.
  • His accession was however not welcomed by a group of Catholics as he was a Protestant. Their dissatisfaction kept rising and were incensed when he passed a law according which people who did not attend the Protestant church were to be charged heavy fines.
  • In 1605 he was attacked by a small group of Catholics in the famous ‘Gunpower Plot’ in which the conspirators had planned to blow up the House of Lords by planting barrels of gunpowder underground. However, the plan failed and many of the plotters were either killed during imprisonment or executed.
  • James visited Scotland in 1617, after thirteen years of accession to throne in England, even though had he had promised that he would pay regular visits. He was succeeded by his son Charles I after his death.
Major Works
  • In the 1580s and 1590s, at the age of 18 the king promoted literature in Scotland and was also part of the literary and art group Scottish Jacobean court poets. He participated in the major literary and art activities of his time and has been credited by the Scots for influencing the English Renaissance poetry and drama.
  • Wars and feuds were at bay and England was at peace, under the reign of James. He brought an end to the ongoing Anglo–Spanish War and attempted to curtail the long term hatred between the two kingdoms by signing a peace treaty.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • James had a marriage by proxy with Anne of Denmark, younger daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark in August 1589. They were legally married on 23 November.
  • The couple had three children; Henry Frederick, who died in 1612 at the age of 18, Elizabeth, who became the queen of Bohemia; and Charles, his heir.
  • In 1619, Anne passed away and the king never married again. At the age of fifty, he began to suffer from arthritis and was also found to have developed kidney stones. Before his death, his arthritis took a toll on his health, often losing consciousness and later he suffered a stroke. A severe bout of dysentery took his life and his body was put to rest in Westminster Abbey.
  • Upon his death his son Charles was crowned the King of England and Scotland.
  • This King of England wrote a book ‘Basilikon Doron & Basilicon Doron’ in which he compared kings to Gods.
  • William Shakespeare, the greatest dramatist of all times, was among one this King of England’s subjects.
  • This King of England and Scotland was crowned the King of Scotland in 1567, when he was just thirteen months old.

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- King James I Biography
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Last Updated
- June 12, 2013

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King James I