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Origins of Commonwealth

After the elimination of the King of England Charles I, both the House of Lords and the Anglican Church were abolished and England was declared a republic – the Commonwealth – governed by Parliament.
The newly born republic, now in full control of the British Isles, tried to consolidate its commercial power, and England made a decisive step towards naval supremacy.
In 1653 Cromwell became Lord Protector. A born leader and a great soldier, as well as a fervent Puritan, he bore the stamp of the strictness of militare discipline, and ruled with almost absolute powers. When he died in 1658 his son Richard, whom he had nominated to succed him, proved unfit for the task. Eighteen months after his death free elections were held and Charles II was called back; in 1660 Parliament restored the monarchy.

Charles II was a very popular king. He had been influenced by French elegant and refinement, and allowed people to enjoy the pleasure of life that had been denied under the Puritan rule. He restored the Church of England, but was willing to grant freedom of religion to Puritans and Catholics. It was in this period that political partities were born in Britain.
A group of MPs, who represented the commercial middle classes, became known as the Whigs; another group, called Tories, supported the authority of both king and Church. Broadly speaking the inheritors of the Parliamentarians and Royalists.

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