King James 1 (1566-1625)

James 1 of England 1566-1625 (James V1 of Scotland) became king of England upon the death of his cousin Elizabeth in 1603. He was the only child of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was executed by order of Elizabeth in 1587. His coronation united the two kingdoms of Scotland and England. He declared the Ulster earls traitors to the crown and after their flight, seized their lands and property.

James had been raised as a staunch protestant, and had printed the first version of the bible in English in 1611. He saw the Ulster Plantation as an opportunity to convert the native Irish to Protestantism. Despite the success of the plantation, James remained fearful of further uprisings and of Catholic conspiracies against him. He used this fear to justify introducing further restrictions against Catholics and suppression of their religion.

The king's leading officials in Ireland were the Lord Deputy Sir Arthur Chichester and Attorney-General Sir John Davies. They soon declared the earls traitors, and confiscated their lands on behalf of the Crown. Following the defeat and death of Sir Cahir O Dochartaigh, his lands were also forfeit to the king. In a letter to James, Sir John Davies wrote "[You] have a greater extent of land than any prince in Europe has to dispose of." He recommended that it be planted on a large scale, because it would not work " if the number of civil persons who are to be planted do not exceed the number of natives who will quickly overgrow them as weeds overgrow the good corn". At the same time, Chichester was asking the king to let land to servitors - the name given to soldiers and officials who had served Elizabeth and James in Ireland.

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