Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell biography
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Oliver Cromwell biography

Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) English political and military leader. This man was born in Huntingdon, United Kingdom. His family was originally from Wales, was educated in a Protestant puritanical and deeply anti-Catholic. Most of his childhood and youth was under the command of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex. Thomas hired Thomas Beard, to instruct him. In his youth, he studied at Sidney Sussex College, at the University of Cambridge and studied law in London.

From a young age, he showed in his actions and thoughts a mystical sense, attached to his religious and providential beliefs. In other words, Oliver Cromwell was a staunch Puritan, whose speeches were littered with biblical references and who felt the divine mission of uniting and reforming England. He began to work on this goal, by 1628 he was elected to the House of Commons, dissolved the following year by King Charles I. However, between 1629 and 1640, the English monarch ruled without Parliament and without the endorsement of the King Charles I. One of his motivations lay in the desire that the Puritans could practice their faith freely, which he considered difficult in a nation where the Anglican Church was increasingly sliding toward Catholic standards.

On the other hand, the social and political situation was inequitable because the development of trade and factory activity, motivated the enrichment of the bourgeoisie, while the nobles, whose wealth came from the land, began to impoverish. The monarchy limited the activity of the bourgeoisie, taxing them with heavy taxes, to obtain part of the profits, which confronted both sectors. In short, Carlos I constantly attacked the Puritan community for having separated from the official religion and opposing the monarchical laws, according to him, coming from a divine mandate.

“Whoever stops being better at each step simply stops being good.” Oliver Cromwell

The Puritans led by Oliver Cromwell tried to reach an agreement with the King, to govern with limited powers. However, the agreement did not prosper and the dispute resumed. In 1640, however, the king had to establish Parliament again, Cromwell, as representative of Cambridge, stood out for his radical defense of Puritanism and non-dissolution of parliament, his attacks on royal arbitrariness and his opposition to the episcopacy of the Church of England. At the time, the sovereign ordered the imprisonment of the main members of the opposition, which stoked the insubordination of the Parliament and forced Carlos to flee to the west of England to seek help from his supporters.

In 1642 a bloody civil war broke out, pitting the royalists against the supporters of Parliament. At that time, Cromwell, a practical man and gifted with great military talent, limited himself to forming a cavalry force, which obtained a remarkable success. Later with more experience and skill in the war, he organized a revolutionary army, the New Model Army. During eight years of war, he managed to defeat the royalist troops in Marston Moore in 1644 and Naseby the following year. Cromwell defeated the Scots at Preston, forcing them to abandon Charles I and hand him over to the MPs. Cromwell had Carlos I judged and sentenced to death on January 30, 1649.

After this well-known event, he suppressed the monarchy and the House of Lords and proclaimed the Republic or Commonwealth. During the coming years, he conducted several campaigns to subdue the Irish Catholics, such as the battles of Dunbar and Worcester, succeeded in crushing the Scottish royalists, who had proclaimed King Charles II, the firstborn son of the executed sovereign. Oliver dissolved the House of Commons in 1653, giving the legislative power to 139 people of his confidence and proclaimed himself Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, with wider powers, compared to those enjoyed by the monarch. We could say that Oliver Cromwell governed under the premises that both criticized and was a leader full of contradictions.

During his tenure, known as The Protectorate, England experienced remarkable economic growth and was at the head of the European Protestant countries, among other things, attacked and conquered the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean, fostered the liberalization of trade, reorganized the public finances, ensured the prosperity of the merchant bourgeoisie, promulgated the Navigation Act, by which he imposed on the Netherlands the English maritime supremacy, defeated the United Provinces, defeated the Dutch, ensuring the dominion of the sea by England and pursued the Catholics.

Physically exhausted and afflicted by the death of his daughter Elizabeth, who was 29 years old. Cromwell died on September 3, 1658, in Huntingdon. When he died, England was a world-power country. But with his death came a period of chaos that ended in the monarchical restoration at the head of Carlos II. The new monarch did not hesitate to order the exhumation of the corpse of Oliver Cromwell, who was lying in Westminster Abbey, as revenge for having signed the death sentence of his father. His head was nailed in a post in the environs of Palace of Westminster and exhibited to the public, next to those of other regicides.

At the present time, a statue in his honor stands before the British parliament, recalling and recognizing Cromwell’s struggle for religious freedom. Currently, some parts of his body lie at Sidney Sussex College, in Cambridge.

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