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Elizabeth I and her Golden Era.
Elizabeth I was queen of England from 1558 until she died in 1603. Her reign was called the Elizabethan Age, a very exciting and glorious period in English history, in which England became an important world power. She was born near London in 1533. Her father was Henry VIII and her mother Anne Boleyn, the second of the king's six wives. When Elizabeth was 3 years old her mother was beheaded because she was accused of having a relationship with someone else. Elizabeth had an elder half sister Mary, and a younger half- brother Edward. King Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church because the pope would not let him divorce his first wife. Henry then founded the Church of England and made his country protestant. Although Henry cared very little about Elizabeth during her childhood she received a good education and was taught well in history and philosophy. She learned many languages, including French, Italian and Latin. When Henry died in 1547 his only son, Edward, became king but the boy king died six years later. Mary became queen and made England a Catholic country again. She didn't like Elizabeth and thought that she was plotting against her. She sent her half- sister to prison in the Tower of London for two months. When she was released, she had to live in the countryside. Mary died in 1558 and Elizabeth succeeded her. She became very popular and many people thought that she would bring back peace and stability in a time of conflict. Elizabeth was a cautious and clever queen; she knew a lot about economics and had good advisors. She returned England to Protestantism but she was not a radical religious reformer. Although there were many young men who wanted to marry her, Elizabeth stayed alone and had no children. This was a threat to the English monarchy because without children her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, would inherit the throne. She was a Catholic and a friend of France. Elizabeth was aware of this danger and had Mary sent to prison for many years. She was executed in 1587. Elizabeth gave her country a lot of self- confidence. During her reign it built up its sea power and ships sailed across the seas to trade in the New World. At that time Spain controlled much of the trade in the New World. Elizabeth sent Sir Francis Drake and other sea captains to raid Spanish ships and seize gold and other treasures that the Spanish had captured. This was too much for Philip II of Spain so he decided to attack England. After years of preparation he put together a strong fleet of ships called the Spanish Armada. In 1588 the Armada sailed into the English Channel. In the battle that lasted for nine days the British defeated the Spaniards because their ships were smaller and faster. Only a few of them managed to get back to Spain. Elizabeth had celebrated the greatest victory of her reign. The Elizabethan Age was also an age of art and culture. Many musicians, scholars and writers came to her palace. William Shakespeare was the greatest writer of the period and wrote some of the world's finest plays and poems. (Elizabethan Theatre) The last years of Elizabeth's reign were troubled by scandals and revolts. Parliament started to criticize the queen and health problems made her weaker. She died on March 24, 1603 at the age of 69. At her wish, Mary Stuart's son, James VI of Scotland became king of England and the two countries were united.
Cromwell and the British Republic
Oliver Cromwell was born on 25 April 1599 in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire into a family of minor gentry and studied at Cambridge University. He became member of parliament for Huntingdon in the parliament of 1628 - 1629. In the 1630s Cromwell experienced a religious crisis and became convinced that he would be guided to carry out God's purpose. He began to make his name as a radical Puritan when, in 1640, he was elected to represent Cambridge, first in the Short Parliament and then in the Long Parliament. Civil war broke out between Charles I and parliament in 1642. Although Cromwell lacked military experience, he created and led a superb force of cavalry, the 'Ironsides', and rose from the rank of captain to that of lieutenant-general in three years. He convinced parliament to establish a professional army - the New Model Army - which won the decisive victory over the king's forces at Naseby (1645). The king's alliance with the Scots and his subsequent defeat in the Second Civil War convinced Cromwell that the king must be brought to justice. He was a prime mover in the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649 and subsequently sought to win conservative support for the new republic by suppressing radial elements in the army. Cromwell became army commander and lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he crushed resistance with the massacres of the garrisons at Drogheda and Wexford (1649). Cromwell then defeated the supporters of the king's son Charles II at Dunbar (1650) and Worcester (1651), effectively ending the civil war. In 1653, frustrated with lack of progress, he dissolved the rump of the Long Parliament and, after the failure of his Puritan convention (popularly known as Barebones Parliament) made himself lord protector. In 1657, he refused the offer of the crown. At home Lord Protector Cromwell reorganised the national church, established Puritanism, readmitted Jews into Britain and presided over a certain degree of religious tolerance. Abroad, he ended the war with Portugal (1653) and Holland (1654) and allied with France against Spain, defeating the Spanish at the Battle of the Dunes (1658). Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 in London. After the Restoration his body was dug up and hanged.
Civil War I
Motivations On the side of the King were enlisted:
a deep-seated loyalty resulting from two centuries of effective royal protection;
a pure cavalier spirit, foreshadowing the courtier era of Charles II, but still strongly tinged with the old feudal indiscipline;
the militarism of an expert soldier nobility, well represented by Prince Rupert; and
a widespread mistrust of extreme Puritanism, which appeared unreasonable to the Viscount Falkland and other philosophic statesmen, and intolerable to every other class of Royalists.
The other side of the war saw the causes of the quarrel primarily and apparently as political, but ultimately and really felt them as religious. Thus, the elements of resistance in Parliament and the nation were at first confused, and, later, strong and direct. Democracy, moderate republicanism, and the simple desire for constitutional guarantees could hardly make head of themselves against the various forces of royalism, for the most moderate men of either party were sufficiently in sympathy to admit compromise. But the backbone of resistance was the Puritan element, and this waging war at first with the rest on the political issue, soon (as the Royalists anticipated) brought the religious issue to the front.
The close of the First Civil War left England and Scotland in the hands potentially of any one of the four parties or any combination of two or more that should prove strong enough to dominate the rest. Armed political Royalism was indeed at an end, but Charles, though practically a prisoner, considered himself and was, almost to the last, considered by the rest as necessary to ensure the success of whichever amongst the other three parties could come to terms with him. Thus he passed successively into the hands of the Scots, Parliament and the New Model, trying to reverse the verdict of arms by coquetting with each in turn. The Presbyterians and the Scots, after, Cornet George Joyce of Fairfax's horse seized upon the person of the King for the army (3 June 1647), began at once to prepare for a fresh civil war, this time against Independency, as embodied in the New Model Army and after making use of its sword, its opponents attempted to disband it, to send it on foreign service, to cut off its arrears of pay, with the result that it became exasperated beyond control, and, remembering not merely its grievances but also the principle for which it had fought, soon became the most powerful political party in the realm. From 1646 to 1648 the breach between the New Model Army and Parliament widened day by day until finally the Presbyterian party, combined with the Scots and the remaining Royalists, felt itself strong enough to begin a second civil war.
The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists. King Charles I was in constant conflict with the Parliament. He claimed his “divine right” to rule the country, he dissolved the Parliament and summoned it again. Finally, after his attempts to arrest 5 members of the House of Commons, the war broke out. The first civil war lasted from 1642 to 1646. The battles of the Civil War took place not in London, but in the counties. The King's standard was first raised at Nottingham in 1642 and, when he could not get to London, Oxford became his temporary capital. The first part of the war was more or less successful for the Royalists, but then in 1645 Parliament re-organized its main forces into the New Model Army, under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, with Oliver Cromwell as his second-in-command. Charles I was captured by the Scots who handed him over to the Parliamentarians. This marked the end of the first civil war.
But Charles escaped and made agreements with the Scots. A new series of conflicts and uprisings took place in the country. The Scots who fought on the side of the King were later defeated by the Parliamentarian Army. Charles I was brought to trial for High Treason and in 1649 he was beheaded.
The House of Lords was abolished, some famous Royalists were captured and beheaded. A Council of State was created to govern the country, and Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector.
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