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Oliver Cromwell

A statue of Oliver Cromwell in Westminster, LondonA statue of Oliver Cromwell in Westminster, LondonOliver Cromwell (1599–1658) was an English military and political leader, during and after the English Civil War. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1653 until his death. A devout Puritan and an intensely religious man, he fervently believed that God was guiding his victories. Cromwell was elected Member of Parliament in 1628 and again in 1640. He fought in the English Civil War on the side of the Parliamentarians, rising to become one of the chief commanders of the New Model Army. One of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant in 1649, he took command of the English campaign in Ireland in 1649–50 and against the Scottish army between 1650 and 1651. Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in British and Irish history. Considered by some to be a ruthless dictator, and others hold him up as a hero of liberty.

Early Life

Cromwell's House in ElyCromwell's House in ElyA portrait of Oliver Cromwell as a young manA portrait of Oliver Cromwell as a young manOliver Cromwell was born in 1599 in Huntingdon, near Cambridge into a family of landowners. He was baptized in the Church of England. He was descended on his father’s side from the sister of Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII's chief minister. Aged 21, Oliver Cromwell married Elizabeth Bourchier, daughter of a wealthy merchant family, who were active in the Puritan church (Cromwell became a Puritan himself in the 1630s). The Cromwells had nine children, including Richard, who would succeed his father as Lord Protector.

The story goes that Cromwell attempted to emigrate, along with other Puritans, to Connecticut in America in 1634, but was prevented by the government from leaving. It is not known whether this is true.

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