The Restoration of the monarchy
In 1660 Parliament invited Charles II to return to his kingdom from his exile in France and the republic was over. The Restoration of the monarchy was greeted with relief by most Englishmen, who had felt oppressed in their everyday life by the strict rules of the Puritans. Under the reign of Charles England had a strong French influence (the French aristocracy followed him from France): theatres were re-opened (they remained closed for 10 years) and they became luxurious, comfortable, expensive, elitarian; also Coffee Houses were built, meeting places where people could go to speak about the events of this period. In this period for the first time journals and the newspapers were born (thanks to the printing technology), and a lot of people bought them. Charles II’s court was the most immoral in English history, so when the two catastrophes of the plague ad the Great Fire hit the country, the Puritans interpreted them as God’s punishment for the king’s immorality. London was struck in 1665 by an outbreak of bubonic plague, during which more than 100.000 people died. A year later, a fire destroyed most of the city in four days. Charles II’s brother, James II succeeded him in 1685. He had converted to Catholicism in 1660, and his attempts to give civic equality to Roman Catholic and Protestant dissenters led to conflict with Parliament. In 1688, James’s second wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a son. Fearing that a Catholic succession was now assured, a group of Protestants nobles appealed to William of Orange. In November, William landed with an army in Devon, while Mary established as joint monarchs in 1689. The reign of William II and Mary II was a time of economic progress for England; London was becoming the financial capital of the world and the Bill of Rights in 1689, which prevented the king from raising taxes or keeping an army without the agreement of Parliament, represented the victory of a parliamentary, or constitutional monarchy.