Charles ICharles I (1600-1649) was very fond of art and created on of Europe's greatest art collections. He married Henrietta Maria, the Catholic daughter of the King of France.
During his reign he ignored Parliament and the Commons ( Protestants) denied Him money. This confrontation led to the Petition of Righ in 1628:
- the King could not imprison without a fair trial;
- the King could not impose taxes without the consent of the Commons.
They wanted to riafferm the rights which were given to them with the Magna Charta in 1215. This declaration became the foundation of all later declaration of civil right. The King dismissed it because he believed he was King by divine right.
Later the King needed money to pay his army in Scotland so He summoned the Short Parliament which denied to give him money. Then the Long Parliament was elected and it tried to assert control over the King passing laws to reduce his powers.
In 1642 Charles entered the Parliament to arretst five of his most extreme MP's but they had already escaped. The King raised an army of Royalists and declared war to the Parliament. It was the beginning of the Civil War (1642-1649).
The Civil WarBetween 1642 and 1649 there were many battles between Royalists and Parlamentarians. It was the struggle between the Stuart absolutism and the liberty of the Parliament but it was also a class conflict between the aristocratic land owners who supported the king and the middle class who supported the Parliament.
Royalists and Parlamentarians were different in appearance, ideologies and way of life: the supporters of the King were concentrated in Wales, Cornwall and west of England; the supporters of the Parliament were concentrated in the seaports, City of London and eastern England.
The Parlamentarian's army was stronger and made up of professional soldiers and it had cavalry. They thought God was on their side and they were trained through hard discipline and collective prayer. Their commander was Oliver Cromweill, a religious man who thought that this conflict was his mission to free the land from superstition.
In 1648 Charles I was brought to London and was executed in 1649. The Parliament was purged of 370 Presbyterians and Royalists' sympathisers. The remaining 121 members were called Rump Parliament.