Author of the painting: Samuel Cooper

Huntingdon, England, April 25, 1599-Whitehall, England, September 3, 1658

Oliver Cromwell was a military leader and statesman who led the emergence of England as a republic, and governing it between 1653 and 1658 as Lord Protector.

He studied at Sidney Sussex College of Cambridge University but did not complete his studies, and in 1628 he was first introduced to the Parliament as a member of the House of Commons. In the 1630s he experienced a strong religious crisis and, convinced that his purpose was to fulfill the will of God, he became a radical Puritan.

In 1640 he was chosen Member of Parliament for Cambridge. He expressed his opposition to King Charles I and when civil war broke out in 1642, he took charge of several military campaigns of the parliamentary side despite his inexperience. He managed the remodeling of the army with the formation of the New Model Army, mainly formed by radical Puritan soldiers.

In 1648 he began a second civil war that led to the execution of Charles I and the proclamation of a republic whose government was called the Commonwealth of England. Later, Cromwell became army commander and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, where he led the massacres of Drogueda and Wexford. The civil war ended with the defeat of the supporters of Charles II.

The execution of Oliver Cromwell

The execution of Oliver Cromwell

After the failure of the creation of a Puritan convention (Barebone Parliament), Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland with similar powers of a king; through this position he established a church with some tolerance for diversity of worship. He finished the war with Portugal and Holland and established moral laws that banned Christmas, theater and dance.

After the death of the most powerful man in England and the restoration of the monarchy, his body was dug up and beheaded. He’s a controversial figure as is accused of causing thousands of deaths, although he was also awarded for creating progress towards democracy.