Portrait of Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), Prince, Count Palatine; Duke of Cumberland (1644), appointed to the King's Privy Council in 1662, Lord High Admiral of England (1668-1682)
Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Duke of Cumberland (17 December 1619 - 29 November 1682) was a noted German soldier, admiral, scientist, sportsman, colonial governor and amateur artist during the 17th century. He first came to prominence as a Cavalier cavalry commander during the Civil War. Rupert was a younger son of the German prince Frederick V, Elector Palatine and his wife Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England. Thus, Rupert was the nephew of King Charles I of England, who made him Duke of Cumberland and Earl of Holderness, and the first cousin of King Charles II of England. His sister Electress Sophia was the mother of George I of Great Britain. Prince Rupert had a varied career. He was a soldier from a young age, fighting against Spain in the Netherlands during the Eighty Years 'War (1568-1648), and against the Holy Roman Emperor in Germany during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Aged 23, he was appointed commander of the Royalist cavalry during the Civil War, becoming the archetypal Cavalier of the war and ultimately the senior Royalist general. He surrendered after the fall of Bristol and was banished from England. He served under Louis XIV of France against Spain, and then as a Royalist privateer in the Caribbean. Following the Restoration, Rupert returned to England, becoming a senior English naval commander during the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch wars, engaging in scientific invention, art, and serving as the first governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Rupert died in England in 1682, aged 62. Rupert is considered to have been a quick-thinking and energetic cavalry general, but ultimately undermined by his youthful impatience in dealing with his peers during the Civil War. As the head of the Royal Navy in his later years, he showed greater maturity and made impressive and long-lasting contributions to the Royal Navy's doctrine and development. As a colonial governor, Rupert shaped the political geography of modern Canada-Rupert's Land was named in his honour. He also played a role in the early African slave trade. Rupert's varied and numerous scientific and administrative interests combined with his considerable artistic skills.
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