Cromwell, Oliver

Cromwell, Oliver

biographical name


Oliver Cromwell, painting by Robert Walker; in the National Portrait Gallery, London.—Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London

(born April 25, 1599, Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Eng.—died Sept. 3, 1658, London) English soldier and statesman, lord protector of the republican Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1653–58). He was elected to Parliament in 1628, but Charles I dissolved that Parliament in 1629 and did not call another for 11 years. In 1640 Cromwell was elected to the Short and the Long Parliament. When differences between Charles and Parliament erupted into the English Civil Wars, Cromwell became one of the leading generals on the Parliamentary side, winning many notable victories, including the Battles of Marston Moor and Naseby. He was among those who brought the king to trial and signed his death warrant. After the British Isles were named the Commonwealth, he served as the first chairman of the Council of State. In the next few years he fought against the Royalists in Ireland and Scotland and suppressed a mutiny inspired by the Levelers. When Charles II advanced into England, Cromwell destroyed his army at Worcester (1651), the battle that ended the civil wars. As lord protector, Cromwell raised his country's status once more to that of a leading European power and concluded the Anglo-Dutch War. Though a devout Calvinist, he pursued policies of religious toleration. He refused the title of king offered to him by Parliament in 1657. After his death he was succeeded by his son Richard Cromwell.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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