A summary of Charles I, Civil War and the Restoration

Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, their supporters and an execution.

Charles came to the throne in 1625. Relations between Charles I and Parliament gradually got worse. There were clashes about foreign policy and many Puritan Protestants disliked Charles' religious policy. Charles married a French Catholic against the wishes of Parliament. Charles revived old laws and taxes without the agreement of Parliament. When Parliament complained in 1629, he dismissed them. Until 1640, Charles ruled without a Parliament – this period is often referred to as the 'Eleven Years Tyranny'.

War with Scotland forced Charles to recall Parliament. Instead of granting Charles money, Parliament sent him the Grand Remonstrance (1641). This was a list of 204 complaints about the way he was running the country. After Charles had tried and failed to arrest the five leaders of the Parliament, a civil war broke out.

Civil war, Charles’ execution and England as a republic

Parliament had the support of the south-east of England, merchants, London and the navy. Charles' forces were gradually worn down. After Oliver Cromwell set up the New Model Army, Parliament won decisive victories at Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645).

Charles surrendered in 1646. He failed a second time to defeat Parliament during the the Second Civil War in 1648. Parliament put him on trial for treason and he was executed in 1649.

Historians in the past portrayed the Civil War as the time when Parliament defeated the power of the king. England was a republic for the next 11 years, ruled by Oliver Cromwell.

The restoration of Charles II

The Civil War, however, achieved no permanent change in the balance of power between king and Parliament.

In 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne and continued, as his father had done, trying to rule without Parliament.