The Jacobean Era Timeline
Timeline Description: The Jacobean Era refers to the period of time in English and Scottish history when James I (1603 - 1625) ruled. With the death of Elizabeth I, power transferred to the Stuarts, the ruling family of Scotland. As the first Stuart ruler, James I clashed with Parliament over divine right and tax collection, but he also pursued colonization in America. The Jacobean era is also characterized by a flourishing of the arts, architecture, and literature, with subtle changes from the previous Elizabethan period.

Date Event
1603 James I ascends the throne.

Elizabeth I of the Tudor family dies without a direct heir, and the throne passes to her relatives the Stuarts, the ruling family of Scotland. James I ascends the throne, inheriting problems with Parliament that Elizabeth and her father Henry have long suppressed.
November 5, 1605 The Gunpowder Plot fails to kill James I.

A group of English Catholics led by Guy Fawkes attempts and fails to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. This is one of many unsuccessful assassination attempts against James I, who, as a Protestant, refuses to grant equal rights to Catholics.
1607 English colonists establish the Jamestown colony in North America.(Spring 1607)

In 1606, the Virginia Company of London receives a charter from James I to settle lands between present-day North Carolina and the Potomac River in North America. In spring 1607, 105 English colonists establish the Jamestown colony, the first permanent English settlement in North America.
1610 John Donne publishes Pseudo-Martyr.

The poet John Donne publishes Pseudo-Martyr, in which he argues that Roman Catholics can support James I without compromising their faith. Donne displays his extensive knowledge of the laws of Church and state throughout his works.
1611 The King James version of the Bible appears.

James I comes into conflict with the Puritans, who call for simpler services and a more democratic church without bishops. James rejects their demands and calls for a new translation of the Bible. The King James version appears in 1611 and has a lasting influence on English language and literature.
1611 Marcus Gheeraerts is commissioned to paint portraits of the royal family.

Marcus Gheeraerts, a Dutch painter who came to prominence in Queen Elizabeth's court, becomes a favorite of James I's queen Anne of Denmark. In 1611 he is commissioned to paint portraits of the king, queen, and princess. He remains a royal favorite until around 1617.
1615 James I pressures John Donne to enter the Church.

James I pressures the metaphysical poet John Donne to enter the Anglican Ministry, claiming that Donne cannot be employed outside the Church. Donne is appointed Royal Chaplain later that year.
1616 Ben Jonson becomes England's first Poet Laureate.

The poet and playwright Ben Jonson, a favorite of King James I, begins receiving a yearly pension in 1616. Many historians have thus identified Jonson as England's first Poet Laureate.
1617 Paul van Somer settles in England.(c. 1617)

By 1617, the Flemish painter Paul van Somer settles in England and quickly becomes one of James and Anne's favorite court painters. He is a forerunner of later, more famous Flemish and Dutch artists.
1619 Cornelius Johnson begins his English portraits.

The Dutch painter Cornelius Johnson settles in England, where he is active until 1643. He begins to paint portraits of the gentry in 1619, capturing their reticent attitudes in head, full-length, and group portraits.
1620 Francis Bacon publishes Novum Organum.

Philosopher and essayist Francis Bacon publishes Novum Organum, which describes his belief that facts must be gathered and observed before coming to a conclusion. This idea revolutionizes scientific experimentation, since previous scientists relied on the methodology of only searching for examples that confirmed their conclusions.
November 1620 The Mayflower lands in North America.

After receiving a royal charter to settle in North America, a group of Separatists on the Mayflower land in present-day Massachusetts. They establish the religious colony of Plymouth, which, along with Jamestown, creates an English foothold in North America.
1622 Inigo Jones completes the Banqueting House.

After the Banqueting House at Whitehall is destroyed by fire in 1619, architect Inigo Jones replaces it with what comes to be seen as his greatest achievement. The new Banqueting House, completed in 1622, is the first fully realized Renaissance classical example of architecture in England.
November 1623 The First Folio of Shakespeare's work is published.

In 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death, the First Folio of Shakespeare's works is published. Shakespeare is active throughout James I's reign, publishing some of his best plays, including Macbeth and The Tempest.
March 27, 1625 James I dies.

James I dies on March 27, 1625, and his son Charles I inherits the throne. The Jacobean Era comes to an end.