Today in World History: March 27th

Charles I of England was the English monarch who nailed the final hammer in the coffin of the absolute monarchy of Great Britain. Crowned on this day in 1625 after the death of his father, James I, Charles quarreled with the English and the Scottish parliaments over his power. They sought to end his unlimited power, while Charles sought to maintain it, if not increase it. This led to a civil war, in which the Scottish and English parliaments fought the royal troops. Eventually, in 1645, after three years of fighting, Charles I surrendered to the Scottish parliament, which then handed him to their English counterparts. They kept him in the dungeons until he escaped in 1647. His escape was brief, however, and he was quickly recaptured by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell then ordered his execution, and his orders were carried out in 1649. Cromwell, who was supposed to lead the empire into a more democratic country, instead consolidated his control over the British Isles, and became the dictator. He stayed in power until 1658, when he died of malaria or an infection. In 1660, power was restored to Charles I, son, Charles II. However, the damage to the absolute monarchy’s reputation was permanent, and trust in them was reduced greatly. Charles II eventually capitulated to the populace’s demands, granting their request for a constitutional monarchy.

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