Previous king: Charles I
Next king: Charles II (son of Charles I)
The Commonwealth is the only time that England did not have a monarch since before the Norman Conquest. Parliament had won the English Civil War, because of the New Model Army led by Oliver Cromwell. After Charles I was beheaded, Parliment started arguing among themselves. So Oliver Cromwell dissolved Parliament and ruled Britain by himself. He was made Lord Protector in 1653.
When the picture on the left was painted, Oliver cromwell said he should be painted "warts and all". At one time, Oliver Cromwell lived in Ely. This is his house.
The Levellers were a group of people who wanted greater equality and religious freedom. They thought that "by natural birth all men are equally and alike borne to like propriety, liberty and freedom". This was going too far for Oliver Cromwell, who crushed the movement.
When he died, there was an attempt to make his son his successor, but this was unpopular. Charles II was brought back as king. This is called the Restoration. After this, Oliver Cromwell's body was dug up and the head cut off and displayed as a traitor.
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