The House of Commons was willing to vote the huge sums that the king needed to finance his war against the Scots, but not until their grievances—some dating back more than a decade—had been redressed. Furious, Charles precipitately dissolved the Short Parliament. On August 20, , the Covenanters invaded England for the second time, and in a spectacular military campaign they took Newcastle following the Battle of Newburn August Demoralized and humiliated, the king had no alternative but to negotiate and, at the insistence of the Scots, to recall parliament.
A new parliament the Long Parliament , which no one dreamed would sit for the next 20 years, assembled at Westminster on November 3, , and immediately called for the impeachment of Wentworth, who by now was the earl of Strafford. This rebellion derived, on the one hand, from long-term social, religious, and economic causes namely tenurial insecurity, economic instability, indebtedness, and a desire to have the Roman Catholic Church restored to its pre- Reformation position and, on the other hand, from short-term political factors that triggered the outbreak of violence.
Inevitably, bloodshed and unnecessary cruelty accompanied the insurrection, which quickly engulfed the island and took the form of a popular rising, pitting Catholic natives against Protestant newcomers. Perhaps 4, settlers lost their lives—a tragedy to be sure, but a far cry from the figure of , the Irish government suggested had been butchered.
Reading History: The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
Much more common was the plundering and pillaging of Protestant property and the theft of livestock. These human and material losses were replicated on the Catholic side as the Protestants retaliated. The Irish insurrection immediately precipitated a political crisis in England, as Charles and his Westminster Parliament argued over which of them should control the army to be raised to quell the Irish insurgents.
Had Charles accepted the list of grievances presented to him by Parliament in the Grand Remonstrance of December and somehow reconciled their differences, the revolt in Ireland almost certainly would have been quashed with relative ease.
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Instead, Charles mobilized for war on his own, raising his standard at Nottingham in August The Wars of the Three Kingdoms had begun in earnest. This also marked the onset of the first English Civil War fought between forces loyal to Charles I and those who served Parliament. After a period of phony war late in , the basic shape of the English Civil War was of Royalist advance in and then steady Parliamentarian attrition and expansion.
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In each case, they felt that the king's participation was critical. Playing the various groups against one another, Charles signed an agreement with the Scots, known as the Engagement, by which they would invade England on his behalf in exchange for the establishment of Presbyterianism in that realm. Angered by Charles' betrayal, the army marched on Parliament and purged those who still favored an association with the king.
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The remaining members, known as the Rump Parliament, ordered Charles tried for treason. Found guilty, Charles was beheaded on January 30, In the wake of the king's execution, Cromwell sailed for Ireland to eliminate resistance there which had been directed by the Duke of Ormonde — With the assistance of Admiral Robert Blake — , Cromwell landed and won bloody victories at Drogheda and Wexford that fall.
Defeated, Charles II escaped to France where he remained in exile. With the final defeat of Royalist forces in , power passed to the republican government of the Commonwealth of England.
History: Great Britain: Civil Wars (1642-1651)
This remained in place until , when Cromwell assumed power as Lord Protector. Effectively ruling as a dictator until his death in , he was replaced by his son Richard — Lacking the support of the army, Richard Cromwell's rule was brief and the Commonwealth returned in with the re-installation of the Rump Parliament.
The following year, with the government in shambles, General George Monck — , who had been serving as Governor of Scotland, invited Charles II to return and take power. Share Flipboard Email. Military and naval history expert Kennedy Hickman has nearly 20 years of experience as a museum curator and director, and has been featured on The History Channel. Updated August 14, Sources and Further Reading.
Hill, Christopher. Hughes, Ann. Wiseman, Susan.