Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Captain General and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces (1650-1653), Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland (1653-1658)
Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic. Cromwell was born into the middle gentry, albeit to a family descended from the sister of King Henry VIII's minister Thomas Cromwell. Little is known of the first 40 years of his life. He became an Independent Puritan after undergoing a religious conversion in the 1630s, taking a generally tolerant view towards the many Protestant sects of his period. He was an intensely religious man, a self-styled Puritan Moses, and he fervently believed that God was guiding his victories. He was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1628 and for Cambridge in the Short (1640) and Long (1640–1649) parliaments. He entered the English Civil War on the side of the "Roundheads" or Parliamentarians. He demonstrated his ability as a commander and was quickly promoted from leading a single cavalry troop to being one of the principal commanders of the New Model Army, playing an important role under General Sir Thomas Fairfax in the defeat of the royalist forces. Cromwell was one of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant in 1649, and he dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England as a member of the Rump Parliament (1649–1653). He was selected to take command of the English campaign in Ireland in 1649–1650. Cromwell also led a campaign against the Scottish army between 1650 and 1651. On 20 April 1653, he dismissed the Rump Parliament by force, setting up a short-lived nominated assembly known as Barebone's Parliament, before being invited by his fellow leaders to rule as Lord Protector of England (which included Wales at the time), Scotland and Ireland from 16 December 1653. As a ruler, he executed an aggressive and effective foreign policy. He died from natural causes in 1658 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The Royalists returned to power in 1660, and they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.
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