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The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, sometimes known as the British Civil Wars, were an intertwined series of conflicts that took place between 1639 and 1653 in the Kingdoms of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...
and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
– separate kingdoms which
had the same king
had the same king
,
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
. The wars were fought mainly over issues of governance and religion, and included
rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behavio ...
s,
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
s and
invasion An invasion is a military offensive An offensive is a military operation A military operation is the coordinated military action War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or par ...
s. The
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
has become the best-known of these conflicts. It ended with the English parliamentarian army defeating all other belligerents, the execution of the King, the abolition of the monarchy, and the founding of the
Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to t ...
; a
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
which controlled the British Isles until 1660. The wars arose from civil and religious disputes, mainly whether ultimate political power should be held by the King or by parliament, as well as issues of
religious freedom Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom ...
and
religious discrimination Religious discrimination is treating a person or group differently because of the particular beliefs which they hold about a religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and prac ...
.
Royalists
Royalists
(or 'Cavaliers') supported Charles I in his claim to be above parliament. Parliamentarians (or 'Roundheads') believed the King was behaving as a tyrant, particularly by levying taxes without parliamentary consent. They wanted parliament to have more power over the King, although some were republicans who wanted to abolish the monarchy. Reformed Protestants such as the English
Puritans The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of J ...
and Scottish
Covenanters Covenanters ( gd, Cùmhnantaich) were members of a 17th-century Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
opposed changes the King tried to impose on the Protestant state churches, and saw them as too "
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
". Meanwhile, the
Irish Confederates Confederate Ireland was the period of Irish Catholic Church, Catholic self-government between 1642 and 1649, during the Irish Confederate Wars, Eleven Years' War. During this time, two-thirds of Ireland was governed by the Irish Catholic Confed ...
wanted an end to discrimination against Irish Catholics, greater Irish self-governance, and to roll back the
Plantations of Ireland A more detailed map of the areas subjected to plantations Plantations in 16th- and 17th-century Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separ ...
. The wars also had elements of national conflict, in the case of the Irish and Scots. The series of wars began with the
Bishops' Wars The 1639 and 1640 Bishops' Wars were the first of the conflicts known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which took place in Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland. ...
of 1639–1640, when Scottish Covenanters who opposed the King's policies took over Scotland and briefly occupied northern England. Irish Catholics launched a rebellion in 1641, which developed into ethnic conflict with Protestant settlers. The Irish Catholic Confederation was formed to control the rebellion, and in the ensuing Confederate Wars it held most of Ireland against the Royalists, Parliamentarians and Covenanters. Both the King and parliament sought to quell the Irish rebellion, but neither trusted the other with control of the army. This tension helped spark the
First English Civil War The First English Civil War was fought in and , from August 1642 to June 1646. It forms one of the conflicts known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 , which also took place in and . These include the 1638 to 1640 , the , the , the , and th ...
of 1642–1646, which pitted Royalists against Parliamentarians and their Covenanter allies. The Royalists were defeated and the King was captured. In the
Second English Civil War The 1648 Second English Civil War is one in a series of connected conflicts in the kingdoms of Kingdom_of_England, England, incorporating Wales, Kingdom_of_Scotland, Scotland, and Kingdom_of_Ireland, Ireland. Known collectively as the 1638 to ...
of 1648, Parliamentarians again defeated the Royalists and a Covenanter faction called the
Engagers The Engagers were a faction of the Scottish Covenanter Covenanters ( gd, Cùmhnantaich) were members of a 17th-century Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the primacy of its leaders ...
. The Parliamentarian
New Model Army The New Model Army was a standing army formed in 1645 by the Roundhead, Parliamentarians during the First English Civil War, then disbanded after the Stuart Restoration in 1660. It differed from other armies employed in the 1638 to 1651 Wars ...
then purged England's parliament of those who wanted to negotiate with the King. The resulting
Rump Parliament The Rump Parliament was the English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gath ...

Rump Parliament
agreed to the
trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
and
execution Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...
of Charles I, and founded the republican
Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to t ...
. His son
Charles II
Charles II
signed a treaty with the Scots. During 1649–1653, the Commonwealth (under
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
) defeated the Scots and remaining English Royalists, and conquered Ireland from the Confederates. Scotland and Ireland were occupied, and most Irish Catholic lands were seized. The British Isles became a united republic ruled by Cromwell and dominated by the army. There were sporadic uprisings until the monarchy was restored in 1660.


Background


General

After 1541, monarchs of England styled their Irish territory as a
Kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...

Kingdom
—replacing the
Lordship of Ireland The Lordship of Ireland ( ga, Tiarnas na hÉireann), sometimes referred to retroactively as Norman Ireland, was the part of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title= ...
—and ruled there with the assistance of a separate Irish Parliament. Also, with the
Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 ( cy, Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is ...
,
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
integrated
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
more closely into the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or ...

Kingdom of England
. Scotland, the third separate kingdom, was governed by the
House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is t ...

House of Stuart
. Via the
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformati ...
, King Henry VIII made himself head of the Protestant
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
and outlawed
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
. In the course of the 16th century
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose comin ...
became intimately associated with
national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one or more states or to one or more nations A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the lo ...
in England; Catholicism had come to be seen as the national enemy, especially as it was embodied in the rivals
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
. But Catholicism remained the religion of most people in Ireland; for many Irish it was a symbol of native resistance to the
Tudor conquest of Ireland The Tudor conquest (or reconquest) of Ireland took place under the Tudor dynasty The House of Tudor was an English royal house of Welsh origin, descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd. Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England The ...
. In the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland ( gd, Rìoghachd na h-Alba; sco, Kinrick o Scotland) was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern thi ...
, the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
was a popular movement led by
John Knox John Knox ( – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish Ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, minister, Christian theology, theologian, and writer who was a leader of Scottish Reformation, the country's Reformation. He was the founder of t ...

John Knox
. The Scottish Parliament legislated for a national
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
church—namely the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis ...

Church of Scotland
or the "
Kirk Kirk is a Scottish (and former Northern English) word meaning "church". It is often used specifically of the Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language nam ...

Kirk
"—and
Mary, Queen of Scots Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart, was List of Scottish monarchs, Queen of Scotland from 14 December 1542 until her forced abdication in 1567. Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King ...

Mary, Queen of Scots
, a Catholic, was forced to abdicate in favour of her son
James VI of Scotland James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...
. James grew up under a regency disputed between Catholic and Protestant factions; when he took power he aspired to be a "universal King" favouring the English
Episcopalian Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; th ...
system of bishops appointed by the king. In 1584, he introduced bishops into the Church of Scotland, but met with vigorous opposition, and he had to concede that the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the Sovereignty, sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body.''An Introduction to Practice and Procedure in the Church of Scotland'' by A. Gordon M ...
would continue to run the church. The personal union of the three kingdoms under one monarch came about when King James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth I to the English throne in 1603, when he also became King James I of England and of Ireland. In 1625,
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
succeeded his father, and marked three main concerns regarding England and Wales; how to fund his government, how to reform the church, and how to limit (the English) Parliament's interference in his rule. At that time he showed little interest in his other two kingdoms, Scotland and Ireland.


Scotland

James VI remained Protestant, taking care to maintain his hopes of succession to the English throne. He duly became
James I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...
in 1603 and moved to London. James concentrated on dealing with the English Court and
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
, running Scotland through written instructions to the
Privy Council of Scotland The Privy Council of Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland ( — 1 May 1708) was a body that advised the King of Scots, monarch. In the range of its functions the council was often more important than the Estates of Scotland, Estates in the running the co ...

Privy Council of Scotland
and controlling the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
through the
Lords of the Articles The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign ...
. He constrained the authority of the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the Sovereignty, sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body.''An Introduction to Practice and Procedure in the Church of Scotland'' by A. Gordon M ...
and stopped it from meeting, then increased the number of bishops in the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis ...

Church of Scotland
. In 1618 he held a General Assembly and pushed through ''Five Articles'' of Episcopalian practices, which were widely boycotted. After his death in 1625, James was succeeded by his son Charles I, who was crowned in
St Giles' Cathedral St Giles' Cathedral ( gd, Cathair-eaglais Naomh Giles), or the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is a parish church of the Church of Scotland in the Old Town, Edinburgh, Old Town of Edinburgh. The current building was begun in the 14th century and extended ...

St Giles' Cathedral
,
Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is ...

Edinburgh
, in 1633, with full
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...

Anglican
rites. Charles was less skillful and restrained than his father; his attempts to enforce Anglican practices in the Church of Scotland created opposition that reached a flashpoint when he introduced the
Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

Book of Common Prayer
. His confrontation with the Scots came to a head in 1639, when he tried and failed to coerce Scotland by military means during the
Bishops' Wars The 1639 and 1640 Bishops' Wars were the first of the conflicts known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which took place in Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland. ...
.


England

Charles shared his father's belief in the
Divine Right of Kings In European Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the M ...
, and his persistent assertion of this standard seriously disrupted relations between the Crown and the English Parliament. The Church of England remained dominant, but a powerful
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of J ...

Puritan
minority, represented by about one third of Parliament, began to assert themselves; their religious precepts had much in common with the Presbyterian Scots. The English Parliament and the king had repeated disputes over taxation, military expenditure, and the role of the Parliament in government. While James I had held much the same opinions as his son regarding
Royal Prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions wr ...
s, he had discretion and charisma enough to often persuade Parliamentarians to his thinking. Charles had no such skill; faced with multiple crises during 1639–1642, he failed to prevent his kingdoms from sliding into civil war. When Charles approached the Parliament to pay for a campaign against the Scots, they refused; they then declared themselves to be permanently in session— the Long Parliament—and soon presented Charles with a long list of civil and religious grievances requiring his remedy before they would approve any new legislation.


Ireland

Meanwhile, in the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label=Early Modern Irish, Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Irish language#Towards a standard Irish – An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, Modern Irish, an Ríocht Éireann, ) was a client state of Kingdo ...

Kingdom of Ireland
(proclaimed such in 1541 but only fully conquered for the Crown in 1603), tensions had also begun to mount. , Charles I's
Lord Deputy of Ireland The Lord Deputy was the representative of the monarch and head of the Irish executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of ...
, angered Roman Catholics by enforcing new taxes while denying them full rights as subjects; he further antagonised wealthy Irish Catholics by repeated initiatives to confiscate and transfer their lands to English colonists. Conditions became explosive in 1639 when Wentworth offered Irish Catholics some reforms in return for their raising and funding an Irish army (led by Protestant officers) to put down the Scottish rebellion. The idea of an
Irish Catholic Irish Catholics are an ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who are unified by a common Religion, religious and ethnic group, ethnic background. Furthe ...
army enforcing what many saw as already tyrannical government horrified both the Scottish and the English Parliaments, who in response threatened to invade Ireland.


Wars

Modern historians have emphasised the lack of inevitability of the civil wars, noting that the sides resorted to "violence first" in situations marked by mutual distrust and paranoia. Charles' initial failure to quickly end the
Bishops' Wars The 1639 and 1640 Bishops' Wars were the first of the conflicts known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which took place in Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland. ...
informed the antagonists that force could serve them better than negotiation. In Ireland, alienated by English Protestant domination and frightened by the rhetoric of the English and Scottish Parliaments, a small group of Irish conspirators launched the
Irish Rebellion of 1641 The Irish Rebellion of 1641 ( ga, Éirí Amach 1641) was an uprising by Irish Catholics in the Kingdom of Ireland, who wanted an end to anti-Catholic discrimination, greater Irish self-governance, and to partially or fully reverse the plantation ...
, ostensibly in support of the "King's Rights". The rising featured widespread violent assaults on Protestant communities in Ireland. In England and Scotland, rumours spread that the killings had the king's sanction, which, for many, foreshadowed their own fate if the king's Irish troops landed in Britain. Thus the English Parliament refused to pay for a royal army to put down the rebellion in Ireland; instead Parliament decided to raise its own armed forces. The king did likewise, rallying those (some of them members of Parliament) who believed their fortunes were best served by loyalty to the king. The
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
ignited in 1642. Scottish
Covenanters Covenanters ( gd, Cùmhnantaich) were members of a 17th-century Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
(as Presbyterians there called themselves) joined forces with the English Parliament in late 1643 and played a major role in the ultimate Parliamentary victory. Over the course of more than two years, the king's forces were ground down by the efficiency of those of Parliament, including the
New Model Army The New Model Army was a standing army formed in 1645 by the Roundhead, Parliamentarians during the First English Civil War, then disbanded after the Stuart Restoration in 1660. It differed from other armies employed in the 1638 to 1651 Wars ...
, backed as they were by the financial muscle of the
City of London The City of London is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...

City of London
. On 5 May 1646 at Southwell, Charles I surrendered to the Scottish army besieging
Newark-on-Trent Newark-on-Trent or Newark () is a market town A market town is a European that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the , a market right, which allowed it to host a regular ; this distinguished it from a or . In Britain, small rura ...
. What remained of the English and Welsh Royalist armies and garrisons surrendered piecemeal over the next few months. Meanwhile, the rebellious Irish Catholics formed their own government—
Confederate Ireland Confederate Ireland was the period of Irish Catholic self-government between 1642 and 1649, during the Eleven Years' War. During this time, two-thirds of Ireland was governed by the Irish Catholic Confederation or Confederacy, also known as th ...
—intending to help the Royalists in return for religious toleration and political autonomy. Troops from England and Scotland fought in Ireland, and Irish Confederate troops mounted an expedition to Scotland in 1644, sparking the Scottish Civil War. There, the Royalists gained a series of victories in 1644–1645, but were crushed after the main Covenanter armies returned to Scotland upon the end of the first English Civil War. The Scots handed Charles over to the English and returned to Scotland, the English Parliament having paid them a large sum for their expenses in the English campaign. After his surrender, Charles was approached by the Scots, the Presbyterians in the English Parliament, and the ''
Grandee Grandee (; es, Grande de España, ) is an official aristocratic title conferred on some Spanish nobility Spanish nobles are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked imme ...
s'' of the New Model Army, all attempting to reach an accommodation with him and among themselves that would gain the peace while preserving the crown. But now, a breach between the New Model Army and Parliament widened day by day, until the Presbyterians in Parliament, with allies among the Scots and the remaining Royalists, saw themselves strong enough to challenge the Army, which began the
Second English Civil War The 1648 Second English Civil War is one in a series of connected conflicts in the kingdoms of Kingdom_of_England, England, incorporating Wales, Kingdom_of_Scotland, Scotland, and Kingdom_of_Ireland, Ireland. Known collectively as the 1638 to ...
. The New Model Army vanquished the English Royalist and Parliamentarians, and their Scottish
Engager The Engagers were a faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters, who made "The Engagement" with King Charles I of England, Charles I in December 1647 while he was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle by the English Parliamentarians after his defeat i ...
allies. On account of his secret machinations with the Scottish Engagers, Charles was charged with treason against England. Subsequently, the Grandees and their civilian supporters would not reconcile with the king or the Presbyterian majority in Parliament. The Grandees acted; soldiers were used to
purge In history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populatio ...
the English Parliament of those who opposed the Army. The resultant
Rump Parliament The Rump Parliament was the English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gath ...

Rump Parliament
of the
Long Parliament The Long Parliament was an English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of ...
then passed enabling legislation for putting Charles I on trial for treason. He was found guilty of treason against the English commons and was executed on 30 January 1649. After the execution of King Charles I the Rump Parliament passed a series of acts declaring England a republic and that the House of Commons—without the House of Lords—would sit as the legislature and a
Council of State A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-sha ...
would act as the executive power. In the other two kingdoms the execution of Charles caused the warring parties to unite, and they recognised as king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, which would lead to a
Third English Civil War Third or 3rd may refer to: Numbers *3rd, the ordinal form of the cardinal number 3 *fraction (mathematics) A fraction (from Latin ', "broken") represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts. When spoken in everyda ...
. To deal with the threat to the English Commonwealth posed by the two kingdoms (Ireland and Scotland), the Rump Parliament first charged Cromwell to invade and subdue Ireland. In August 1649, he landed an English army at
Rathmines Rathmines () is an inner suburb on the southside of Dublin in Ireland, about three kilometres south of the city centre. It effectively begins at the south side of the Grand CanalGrand Canal can refer to multiple waterways: * Grand Canal (Chi ...
shortly after the Siege of Dublin was abandoned by the Royalists following the
Battle of Rathmines A battle is an occurrence of combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or devic ...

Battle of Rathmines
. Then, in late May 1650, Cromwell left one army to continue the Irish conquest and returned to England and to take command of a second English army preparing to invade Scotland. On 3 September 1650, he defeated the Scottish Covenanters at the Battle of Dunbar; his forces then occupied Edinburgh and Scotland south of the
River Forth The River Forth is a major river in central Scotland, long, which drains into the North Sea on the east coast of the country. Its drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common ...
. Cromwell was advancing the bulk of his army over the Forth towards
Stirling Stirling (; sco, Stirlin; gd, Sruighlea ) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. ...

Stirling
, when , commanding a Scottish Royalist army, stole the march on the English commander and invaded England from his base in Scotland. Cromwell divided his forces, leaving part in Scotland to complete the conquest there, then led the rest south in pursuit of Charles. The Royalist army failed to gather much support from English Royalists as it moved south into England; so, instead of heading directly towards London and certain defeat, Charles aimed for
Worcester Worcester may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Worcester, England, a city in Worcestershire ** Worcester (UK Parliament constituency) * Worcester Park, London, England * Worcestershire, a county in England United States * Worcester, Massachus ...
in hopes that Wales and the West and Midlands of England would rise against the Commonwealth. This didn't happen, and one year to the day after the Battle of Dunbar the New Model Army and English militia regiments vanquished the last Royalist army of the English Civil War at the
Battle of Worcester The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 at Worcester, England Worcester ( ) is a cathedral city and the ceremonial county town of Worcestershire, in England, south-west of Birmingham, north-west of London, north of Gloucester ...

Battle of Worcester
, on 3 September 1651. It was the last and most decisive battle in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.


Aftermath

Having defeated all organized opposition, the Grandees of the Parliamentary New Model Army and their civilian supporters dominated the politics of all three nations for the next nine years (see
Interregnum (1649–1660) The "interregnum" in England, Scotland, and Ireland started with the execution of Charles I in January 1649 (September 1651 in Scotland) and ended in May 1660 when his son Charles II was restored to the thrones of the three realms, although he ...
). As for England, the Rump Parliament had already decreed it was a republic and a
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...
. Ireland and Scotland were now ruled by military governors, and constituent representatives from both nations were seated in the Rump Parliament of
the Protectorate The Protectorate was the period during the Commonwealth (or, to monarchists, the Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypal ...
, where they were dominated by
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
, the Lord Protector. When Cromwell died in 1658, control of the Commonwealth became unstable. In early 1660, General
George Monck George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, KG (6 December 1608 – 3 January 1670) was an English soldier and politician, and a key figure on both sides of the English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and pol ...

George Monck
, commanding English occupation forces in Scotland, ordered his troops from the
Coldstream Coldstream ( gd, An Sruthan Fuar , sco, Caustrim) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in ...
barracks, marched them south into England, and seized control of London by February 1660. There he accumulated allies and agreements among the English and London establishments, including the newly constituted Convention Parliament, to which he was elected a member. Monck, first a
Royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. ...
campaigner, then a Parliamentary soldier, now contrived the
Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
of the monarchy. Monck arranged that the Convention Parliament would invite Charles II to return as king of the three realms—which was done by act of Parliament on 1 May 1660. The Wars of the Three Kingdoms pre-figured many of the changes that ultimately would shape modern Britain, but in the short term, the conflicts actually resolved little for the kingdoms and peoples of the times. The
English Commonwealth The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to t ...
did achieve a notable compromise between monarchy and a republic (by ending with the compromise between Charles II and General Monck), even one that survived destabilizing issues for nearly the next two hundred years. In practice, Oliver Cromwell exercised political power through his control over Parliament's military forces, but his legal position—and provisions for his succession—remained unclear, even after he became
Lord Protector Lord Protector (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ...
. None of the several constitutions proposed during this period were realized. Thus the Commonwealth and Protectorate of the Parliamentarians—the wars' victors—left no significant new forms of government in place after their time. Still, in the long term, two abiding legacies of British democracy were established during this period: * after the execution of King Charles I for
high treason Treason is the crime of attacking a Sovereign state, state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to Coup d'etat, overthrow its government, Es ...
, no future British monarch could expect their subjects would tolerate perceived
despotism Despotism ( el, Δεσποτισμός, ''despotismós'') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media ...
—the "divine right of kings" was no more; * the excesses of the New Model Army, particularly those of the
Rule of the Major-Generals The Rule of the Major-Generals, was a period of direct military government from August 1655 to January 1657, during Oliver Cromwell's The Protectorate, Protectorate. England and Wales were divided into eleven regions, each governed by a major-genera ...
, left an abiding mistrust of military dictators and military rule that persists until today among peoples of British descent or national association. English Protestants experienced religious freedom during the
Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin ''i ...
, but there was none for English Roman Catholics. During the term of their control, the Presbyterian partisans abolished the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
and the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
. Cromwell denounced the Rump Parliament and dissolved it by force, but he failed to establish an acceptable alternative. Nor did he and his supporters move in the direction of popular democracy, as the more radical Parliamentarians (the
Levellers The Levellers were a political movement A political movement is a collective attempt by a group of people to change government policy or social values. Political movements are usually in opposition to an element of the status quo  and are ...
) wanted. During the Interregnum, the New Model Army occupied Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland, the new government confiscated almost all lands belonging to Irish Catholics as punishment for the rebellion of 1641; harsh
Penal Laws In the history of Ireland The first evidence of human presence in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to ...
also restricted this community. Thousands of Parliamentarian soldiers settled in Ireland on confiscated lands. The Commonwealth abolished the Parliaments of Ireland and Scotland. In theory, these countries had representation in the English Parliament, but as this body never held real powers, representation was ineffective. When Cromwell died in 1658 the Commonwealth fell apart—but without major violence. Historians record that adroit politicians of the time, especially George Monck, prevailed over the looming crisis; Monck in particular was deemed the George Monck#Restoration of the monarchy, victor ''sine sanguine,'' i.e., "without blood", of the Restoration crisis. And in 1660, Charles II was restored as king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Under the Restoration (England), English Restoration the political system returned to the antebellum constitutional position. Although Charles II's Declaration of Breda, Declaration of Breda, April 1660, offering reconciliation and forgiveness, had promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War, the new régime executed or imprisoned for life those directly involved in the regicide of Charles I. Royalists dug up Cromwell's corpse and performed a posthumous execution. Those religiously and politically motivated individuals held responsible for the wars suffered harsh repression. Scotland and Ireland regained their Parliaments, some Irish retrieved confiscated lands, and the New Model Army was disbanded. However, the issues that had caused the wars—religion, the powers of Parliament vis-á-vis the king, and the relationships between the three kingdoms—remained unresolved, postponed actually, to re-emerge as matters fought over again leading to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Only after this later time did the larger features of modern Britain foreshadowed in the civil wars emerge permanently, namely: a Protestant constitutional monarchy and a strong standing army under civilian control.


See also

*
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
* English overseas possessions in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms * Cromwellian conquest of Ireland * European wars of religion * Thirty Years' War * Timeline of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms * Outline of the wars of the Three Kingdoms


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * . An 88-page pamphlet. * * * * * * * *


Further reading


Great Britain and Ireland

* * * * * *


England

* * * * * Worden, Blair (2009). ''The English Civil Wars: 1640–1660''. London: W&N. .


Ireland

* * * * * *


Scotland

* *


External links


British Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate Project

Chronology of The Wars of the Three Kingdoms

The Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Article by Jane Ohlmeyer arguing that the English Civil War was just one of an interlocking set of conflicts that encompassed the British Isles in the mid-17th century
Celtic Dimensions of the British Civil Wars
at History Ireland
Englishcivilwar.org
News, comment and discussion about the English Civil War



* [https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/state/nations/ireland_kingdoms_01.shtml Ireland and the War of the Three Kingdoms]
Civil War
{{DEFAULTSORT:Wars of the Three Kingdoms Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 17th century in England 17th century in Ireland 17th century in Scotland 17th-century conflicts European wars of religion Wars involving England Wars involving Ireland Wars involving Scotland