Europe Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland

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Mara Singha

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Important figure and good time as any to read about him
General, Statesman

Oliver Cromwell was born to Robert and Elizabeth Cromwell in Huntingdon, England, on January 30, 1599. The second born of 10 children, Oliver’s beginnings were humble and obscure, leading to the existence of minimal documentation on his early life. Cromwell gained a basic education from a Huntingdon grammar school that was joined to the Hospital of St. John, after which he attended Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge. During this time he earned a modest living off of the rents of the tenants of his owned land. His Father’s death in June of 1617 ended his time at the university, and he returned home to care for his sisters and mother, as well as govern his family’s estate.

Cromwell married Elizabeth Bourchier, the daughter of London merchant Sir James Bourchier, in August of 1620.

Cromwell was elected as a Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1628, and rapidly became viewed as no friend of King Charles. Cromwell, after his first service to parliament, fell into depression, and suffered from some unknown illness, which resulted in him having a, “spiritual awakening”, which resulted in an extreme and uncompromising Puritan belief system. With his income and fortunes dropping rapidly, he sold a fair portion of his land in and around Huntingdon, and prompted him and his family to move to the Cambridge town of St. Ives in 1631, where he became a farmer on leased land. Cromwell worked here in such a manner for five years when his maternal, and heirless, uncle died, leaving Oliver a large inheritance in another Cambridge town, Ely, in 1636. With his improvement in hierarchical society, Cromwell was elected to Parliament twice in 1640. Cromwell did not become a nationally recognized political and military leader until the mid-1640s.

The First English Civil War began in August 1642, and Oliver Cromwell joined the war effort of the parliamentary army, leading an early military engagement in the conflict. He compiled a small force of horsemen, secured Cambridge for Parliamentary forces, and then joined the Earl of Sussex at the Battle of Edgehill. Cromwell distinguished himself in battles around Gainsborough in July of 1643. He was then given the rank of Colonel in the Eastern Association army, and made governor of Ely. In 1644 he became a Lieutenant General in the Eastern Association Cavalry, and was instrumental in a Parliament victory at Marston Moor, where his actions earned him the nickname “Ironside”. 1645 saw him placed under Sir Thomas Fairfax as second in command of the new army, and deciding the outcome of the battle of Naseby, which effectively ended the first Civil War.

In 1648, the second English Civil War commenced, and Cromwell returned to the battlefield. He began a campaign by ending an uprising of Royalists in South Wales, and then annihilated the Scottish Army at the battle of Preston. After his campaign in the North, Cromwell returned to London and he, along with 58 others, signed the orders for the execution of King Charles.

After the King’s execution, a Council of State was instituted in place of a monarchy. This council ordered Cromwell to take Ireland in 1649, followed by Scotland in 1650. His actions led to his appointment to Lord General, the high commander of the parliamentary military. Cromwell led his armies into battle at Worcester, in September of 1651, and the resulting victory united England, Scotland, and Ireland, into the Commonwealth.

December of 1653 saw Cromwell appointed Lord Protector, the administrator of government and chief magistrate of the Commonwealth. He was offered the crown at one point by parliament, but declined the offer. A constitution decreed that if he wished to call or dissolve a parliament, he must receive a majority vote from the Council of State. This check on power led to the ruling that a monarch of England, without parliament’s approval, cannot govern.

After serving as the Lord Protector of England for five years, Oliver Cromwell died as a result of a urinary infection on September 3, 1658. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

In 1660, after the protectorate was overthrown due to lack of leadership, an English monarchy was reestablished with Charles II being named King. In 1661, Cromwell’s body was exhumed from Westminster, tried for treason, and executed, despite already being dead. The corpse was beheaded, and the head was displayed upon spikes atop Westminster hall.

In 1685, the spike supporting Cromwell’s head broke, sending it to the ground. It was recovered and hidden by a soldier, who passed it on to his daughter. It changed ownership many times, appearing in many spectacles, shows, and exhibitions, before finally being purchased by a Dr. Wilkinson in 1960, and given to Sydney Sussex College, where it was given a burial at an undisclosed location on college property.

(Written by Benjamin G. Harvey)

Birth Location: Huntingdonshire, England
Birth Date: 4/25/1599
Death Location: London, England
Death Date: 9/3/1658
 

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JackFlash

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Poor old jolly Olly, replaced by a bloke who returned the monarchy back into a palace of drunken debauchery piled one on top of the other as a previously sexless England celebrated his reign with a good ol' fashioned **** fest! Charles' ran through seven buxom mistresses like a cruise missile, producing 12 bastard sons. And, that doesn't even include the countless whores. His reign turned every alleyway and dimly lit area into a writhing mass of peasants indiscriminately humping each other, while a dead Oliver looked on high above on the spike! After Cromwell died of natural causes and the monarchy was restored, King Charles II ordered his body dug up so it could be "killed" again. (It was probably his mother's idea, still angry about something)?
 

donkeypunchd

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Cromwell was a murdering bastard. His forces engaged in large scale ethnic cleansing in Ireland, localised massacres such as those of Drogheda and Wexford, and he legislated for mass expropriation and the deportation of Irish landholders to Connacht.

It‘s amusing, in a jaundiced way, that the current focus on Britain’s imperial past precludes any systematic analysis of what they did to Ireland down the centuries. Certainly, few people object to the continued presence of a statue of this genocidal murderer at the British House of Commons.
 

JackFlash

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Did "Ironsides" really do it? After the Royalist Restoration in 1660, Cromwell’s reputation was more than tarnished. Queen Henrietta Maria had returned to England and her role in destroying his reputation and the influence she had on her son should not be downplayed.
 

Occidental

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Did "Ironsides" really do it? After the Royalist Restoration in 1660, Cromwell’s reputation was more than tarnished. Queen Henrietta Maria had returned to England and her role in destroying his reputation and the influence she had on her son should not be downplayed.
Wasn’t Henrietta Maria a central figure in all this upheaval.
Her husband and two of her sons all get to be the King.
Her husband and one of her sons both have the crown ripped from them (and one his head as well).
Not exactly a quiet life!
 

Roylion

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Wasn’t Henrietta Maria a central figure in all this upheaval.
Her husband and two of her sons all get to be the King.
Her husband and one of her sons both have the crown ripped from them (and one his head as well).
Not exactly a quiet life!

Henrietta Maria was quite unpopular in Engand due to her Catholicism, which she made no secret of hiding. From 1644 to 1660 she lived in France. After the Restoration she returned to England until 1661 when she went back to France. In 1662 she returned to England and lived there until 1665. From 1665 until her death four years later in 1689 she lived in France.
 

JackFlash

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Wasn’t Henrietta Maria a central figure in all this upheaval.
Her husband and two of her sons all get to be the King.
Her husband and one of her sons both have the crown ripped from them (and one his head as well).
Not exactly a quiet life!
By openly practising Roman Catholicism she was antagonising, to say the least. Cromwell had a deep religious antipathy to the Catholic religion and he was hated by her not only for that but his war with her husband "the King" which led to his head being lopped off! She did everything she could to damage Cromwell's reputation after the restoration which saw Charles the 2nd run rampant with bastard children. Within 6 years of his reign, the nation was divided and discontented and the existing government was highly unpopular. However, too many of his followers were set on revenge, Charles was usually set on some buxom bint. But the political inadequacies of the government, and the scant respect commanded by the king, paled into insignificance beside the next woe to fall upon the nation. The summer of 1665 proved to be unbearably hot. It encouraged the growth and spread of viruses bearing disease and they thrived, particularly wherever people lived together in cramped and unhygienic conditions. By the end of the month, 600 deaths from bubonic plague had been registered in London. That was a mere prelude. In September, 30,000 deaths were reported. Before the pestilence had done its worst probably three times that number had perished in London alone. Only Henrietta remembered Drogheda? Worse was to come, the great fire began one dark Sunday morning in a baker’s oven in Pudding Lane, near London Bridge. The Administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys roused himself at 7am and was still not overly concerned by what he could see from his window. Only when news of the devastation arrived borne by alarmed callers did he walk to the Tower of London to gain a better vantage point. The King was putting his pants back on and went for a look-see. He was less than 100 metres from the blaze but appeared careless of the danger in his eagerness to help. He immediately sent word to the mayor ordering him to pull down buildings in order to impede the spread of the fire and promised troops to help him. Charles the 2nd's efforts during the great fire cannot be denied. Charles was everywhere. For more than 30 hours without a break he rode about the northern parts of the capital, which had so far avoided the flames. He sent word downriver to the dockyard for bread to be brought from the navy stores to feed the homeless and destitute. He gave orders for the relief of the hundreds of citizens gathered in makeshift camps on the spaces of Moorfields and Spitalfields to the north. He instituted the setting up of a relief fund. By the time he returned to Westminster his clothes were wet and muddy and his face black with soot. The King certainly applied himself enthusiastically to the immense task of rebuilding the nation’s capital. 383 acres of the city lay in ruins. 13,000 houses, 89 churches (including the cathedral) had been reduced to rubble, along with the halls of the livery companies and other corporate and public buildings. The challenge was mind-blowing – but so was the opportunity. London in 1665 was a shithole and Charles the 2nd wanted to rebuild it. Nothing like a good fire to turn your fortunes around, It's a pity his younger brother James the 2nd didn't take heed. ( Now, there was a bad King). A statue of Oliver Cromwell stands outside the House of Commons to this day. There are four more throughout the United Kingdom.
 

medusala

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Cromwell was a murdering bastard. His forces engaged in large scale ethnic cleansing in Ireland, localised massacres such as those of Drogheda and Wexford, and he legislated for mass expropriation and the deportation of Irish landholders to Connacht.

Wasn't remotely a touch on what happened in Europe to the Protestants.

Ireland still shamefully covers up its abhorrent ethnic cleansing of Protestants not to mention De Valera signing the condolence book at the German embassy.

No wonder the donkey punched you.
 

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