Today in World History: September 3rd

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, died on this day in 1658. Although for much of his life he did not do anything notable, Cromwell was elected to parliament in 1628, and when civil war broke out in England, he sided with the parliament of England to limit the powers of the English monarchy. He played a crucial role in the defeat of the Royalist armies, and was one of those to sign the death warrant for King Charles I upon the end of the war. He led the campaigns in Ireland and then Scotland by 1649 and 1650, and helped pass legislation that confiscated lands from the Catholic majority in Ireland. On December 16, 1653, Cromwell was made Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, which was established at the end of the war. Cromwell effectively became a dictator, changing English foreign policy and acting very aggressively to other nations. He died on this day in 1658 at the age of fifty-nine of natural causes, one of the most controversial figures in history. Although many insist he was a strong and effective ruler, others, such as Winston Churchill, called him a dictator and said his actions in Ireland in relation to the Catholics were genocidal. After his death, Royalists in favor of the English monarchy took over control of London again, and dug up his body. His corpse was dug up and beheaded, and the Commonwealth gave way to a restored monarchy and parliament.

“He who stops being better stops being good.”

-Oliver Cromwell
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