Resources to widen the Tudor World at A-Level (OCR & AQA)

Recent events have rightly heightened consciousness of the need to provide more representative and expanded curriculum in history. Quite rightly discussion has been had about GCSE and A-Level specifications, their breadth, depth and focus. Here are the ways I have worked within the confines of the AQA & OCR Tudors specifications to build representation and an understanding of the widening links to colonisation and Empire.

In my planning I have always used textbooks as a crutch, however brilliant opportunities can be had when we go beyond the textbook. For the rest of the post I will share some ideas, historian’s works and websites/clips that might be of use categorised under general specification points. This is a bit of a rush and I’m more than happy to write extra explanations/share more resources as needed!

Trade and the Economy:

Enclosure and depressions meant that the Tudor merchants began to experiment with diversification of trade a raft of trading companies were established in the Tudor period such as the East India Company (1600), Levant Company (received it’s charter in 1582), the Barbary Company to Morocco (1551 given monopoly over the trade in Moroccan sugar in 1585). Privateering and exploration also saw the ‘Sea Dogs’ such as Hawkins, Drake and Raleigh attempt to break into the Iberian domains of the Caribbean and central and south America in search of riches, gold and at times slaves.

Life as a Turkish merchant and member of the Levant Company: https://www.historytoday.com/archive/turkey-merchants-life-levant-company

Summary of expanding trade including images, maps and sources: https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/exploration-and-trade-in-elizabethan-england

First contact with Native American culture and society:

This is an area that alongside ‘Tudor’ Ireland is a real passion of mine. Whilst the first viable (and successful) English colony was establised at Jamestown in 1607, Sir Walter Raleigh did attempt to establisha colony at Roanoke in 1584. War with Spain, poor planning and tension with the Natives made the colony legendary on account of the colonists dissappearance. There are multiple theories about what happened which are fascinating in and of themselves but what is most interesting to me is we see as a consequence of this expedition the first English images and writing on the culture and society of the Native Americans such as John White’s watercolours.

Open access article on the construction of Native American society in the English imagination and links to attitudes to Ireland: https://daily.jstor.org/the-construction-of-america-in-the-eyes-of-the-english/

The theories on Roanoke: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/08/150807-lost-colony-roanoke-hatteras-outer-banks-archaeology/

John White’s images of Algonquian society: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/sketching-the-earliest-views-of-the-new-world-92306407/

Foreign policy:

As part of foreign policy there are stories we can trace. Firstly, the actions of Sir Francis Drake and Hawkins within the wider causation of the Spanish Armada but also draw upon the work of Miranda Kaufmann by introducing the Panama raid, Cimarron and Diego as part of that story. I also include within wider discussion of Elizabeth’s foreign policy and Spain Elizabeth’s interactions with Morocco and the Moroccan delegation of 1600.

The Salcombe Treasure, North Africa and the Moroccan Delegation: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ry0p8

Elizabeth’s connections with the Islamic world: https://www.historyextra.com/period/elizabethan/elizabethan-englands-relationship-with-the-islamic-world/

Diego and Drake: http://www.mirandakaufmann.com/10-black-tudors.html

Using Miranda Kaufmann’s Black Tudors:

If you haven’t bought Black Tudors and read it. DO IT. So many characters can be used within our specifications – John Blanke as part of conversations about Henry’s need for a child, Jacques Francis as part of Henry VIII’s foreign policy, Diego when we come to Spain, Catallena of Almondsbury as a window into the life of the poor (as suggested by Sally Thorne).

Books I love and would suggest (of course Black Tudors):

Oneyka Nubia Blackamoors / England’s Other Countrymen

Neil MacGregor Shakespeare’s Restless World – Catholicism, Africa and Islam, Trade, Gender it’s got it all.

Jerry Brotton This Orient Isle for more on England’s connections to the Islamic world.

Big Chief Elizabeth by Giles Milton

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