English Civil War

1642-1651

Summary

The start of the Civil War began when Charles I and Parliament arguing over an Irish rebellion. This led to a civil war between them where they fought two battles. The Parliament forces won both of them. Charles I escaped from Parliament, which caused the the second stage of the Civil War. Oliver Cromwell, a political leader, quickly squashed the few supporters of the King that were left and beheaded Charles. After Charles I was beheaded his son, Charles II, formed Royalists forces in Scotland. Subsequently, Cromwell invaded Scotland and destroyed the last of the Royalist forces. Charles II eventually ascended to the crown in 1660.

Causes

The main cause of the civil war was differing views on how much power the Monarchy should have. Many believed that there should be a limit to the King's power and that Parliament should have more of a say in how the nation was governed. Charles I believed that he ruled the Divine Right of Kings. This meant that he was King by the will of God and that his power should not be questioned. Parliament and the King also had very different views on Church and religion. Another main issue was the fact that Charles I had very little money and led a lavish lifestyle, which bankrupted the Royal Treasury.


Timeline

March 27, 1625

James I dies and Charles I accedes to throne

March 10, 1629

Charles I dissolves parliament and begins 11 years of personal rule

July 23, 1637

New Scottish prayer book causes a riot in Edinburgh

February 28, 1638

Scots begin to sign National Covenant to prevent religious 'innovations'

October 1641

Rebellion breaks out in Ireland

August 22, 1642

Civil War begins as Charles I summons his loyal subjects at Nottingham

February 15, 1645

Parliament establishes the 'New Model Army'

June 14, 1645

Royalists are crushed by the New Model Army at Naseby, Northamptonshire

May 5, 1646

Charles I surrenders to the Scots

August 17-19, 1648

Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarian troops defeat a Scottish-Royalist Army

January 30, 1649

Charles I is executed at Whitehall, London

January 1, 1651

Charles II is crowned king of Scotland

September 3, 1651

Oliver Cromwell defeats Charles II at the Battle of Worcester

December 16, 1653

Oliver Cromwell makes himself Lord Protector

May 29, 1660

Charles II is restored to the throne


Outcome

  1. Charles I beheaded
  2. Parliament gained power
  3. Charles II exiled

Main Significance

Brought more democracy to England and gave Parliament lots of power.

Quote from Oliver Cromwell

I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else.


Cromwell is saying that he would rather have a king that doesn't dress as elegantly, but loves his country and believes in what he is fighting for. In this case, King Charles I would be the "Gentleman and is nothing else"