Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
- Relations: internal strife, currently not at war with other countries
- Current Ruler: Charles II
- Religion: Church of England, with a minority of Puritans and Catholics and a small community of Jews
Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, her nephew, James I|James VI of Scotland, ascended the English throne and became King James I, ushering in the Stuart reign of England. James was the son of Queen Mary (also known as Bloody Mary) and her second husband, Lord Darnley. He was accepted as Elizabeth’s heir due to the fact that he had been distanced from his mother almost since birth and was a Protestant (not a Catholic, like she was). Upon his ascension, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united for the first time in history. Unfortunately, James was not a very effective monarch and had quite a few run ins with Parliament during his rule.
When James died in 1625, his son, Charles I, took up the crown. He also took up when James left off, often quarrelling with Parliament, due to his stubborn ways and constant financial problems. This stubbornness, combined with a ill managed rebellion of the Scots due to religious intolerance and Charles’ attempt to arrest 5 member of Parliament because they would not side with him, led to the English Civil War. Led by Oliver Cromwell, the New Model Army and his followers (known as Roundheads) battled Charles and his followers (known as Cavaliers), until 1646, when Charles was captured by the Scots and sent to Parliament for trial. In 1648, Charles was put on trial for treason and by a vote of 68 to 67, was found guilty. So, in 1649, King Charles I was put to death.
What followed was known the time known as the Commonwealth. Even though Charles was not put to death until 1649, Parliament ruled England beginning in 1646. This Parliament was run by Oliver Cromwell, a member of both the Short and Long Parliament, who had raised the army against Charles and subsequently saw him executed. He then went about arresting 110 members of Parliament who had opposed him and dismantled the House of Lords, the Privy Council and many other positions of nobility and set up his own Parliament, the ‘Rump’ Parliament. While it may have been supposed to help the people, it fell into petty, self-serving management and in 1652, Cromwell evicted them from office by sword point. The next Parliament he set up proved just as ineffective. He then chose to rule alone, much like a king, though he never accepted the title. Instead, he was known as ‘Lord Protector of the Realm’. He died in 1658, naming his son, Richard, to take his place.
Richard, unfortunately, was not a political man like his father. Instead, he was happiest on his farm. Two years after taking up his father’s place, the Stuart monarchy was returned to the throne.
Thus, Charles II, on his 30th birthday, was crowned King of England and Scotland, once again uniting the counties under one rule. Charles’ rule is known as the Restoration era as is seen as a time of artistic renaissance but also a time of hedonism and debauchery, with Charles leading the pack. He also inherited his forefather’s tendencies to get into trouble, especially where religion was concerned. When he ascended the throne, Charles inherited a country not only divided by class, but also by religion. Catholicism is frowned upon so much that it was almost illegal to practice. If one follows that particular faith, they do it quietly. Most of the people of England are Protestants and want their King to be one too.