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Historical Figures - Oliver Cromwell written for Children

 Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell was born into an aristocrat family in 1599, in Huntingdon Cambridgeshire. He would go on to study in the University of Cambridge, before representing Huntingdon in Parliament between the years of 1628-1629. Following his role within parliament, he would move into the 1630s as a freethinking Puritan to live for God's purpose. Ten years later in 1640, he would be asked to rejoin Parliament - this time to represent the University city of Cambridge.

Just two years in to his new position in Parliament, a civil war would break out between the Parliament itself and the then King - Charles I. Cromwell had had no military experience in the past, but nevertheless he set up a cavalry known as the 'Ironsides' who would become a great force within the civil war. Three years later and the war raged on, Cromwell had gone from a captain of the Ironsides to becoming a high ranking lieutenant general. It was under his idea that the Parliament should build a model army - the New Model Army, who would lead Parliament to victory over the King in 1645 at the battle of Naseby.

The defeat at Naseby was not enough for Cromwell's peace of mind who wanted further justice for the King. Charles I would be executed in 1649 and the Commonwealth of England would be born. His position in the military was raised once more as he was sent to Ireland to bring down the remaining Royalists who had regrouped there with the Irish Confederate Catholics. He would succeed and many were massacred at both Drogheda and Wrexford.

In the following years of 1650-51, he would clash with followers of the late king's son - Charles II and defeat them in Dunbar and Worcester. These final defeats would bring an end to the Second Civil war. Cromwell would go on to try and replace the rump of the Long Parliament with his own Puritan convention but it never took off. Instead, he would become Lord Protector and was offered the crown in 1657 - to which he turned down. Instead, he focused on religion, making changes to the church of England and bringing forward his Puritan beliefs. He would also allow Jews to re-enter Britain. His powers crossed borders too - into Portugal (1653) and Holland (1654) where he would end the wars and then become an ally with France to defeat the Spanish (1658). The same year Cromwell died in the city of London and even after his burial, he would be dug up and hanged.

After the death of his father, Richard Cromwell tried to fill his boots as Lord protector. He struggled to hold up everything that his father had achieved with religion, politics and the military. This led to his position lasting as little as six months, before consequently the army abandoned his side. In 1660, the monarchy was brought back to rule over England and Richard escaped to Paris before returning some twenty years later to live in the shadows.

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

One in a series of articles of articles about British history written for children, see our range of children's historical clothing.  

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