Oliver Cromwell

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Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) was born in Huntingdon, England on April 25, 1599. He was a gentleman farmer. He was also a devout Puritan. He became the MP for Huntingdon in the Parliament of 1628 - 1629. When the English Civil War broke out, he raised a cavalry troop which became the basis of his Ironsides.

His influence as a military commander and politician during the English Civil War dramatically altered the military and the political landscape of the British Isles. As leader of the Puritan cause, and commander of the New Model Army which he was instrumental in forming, he defeated Charles I's forces, and brought to an end the absolute power of the monarchy. He ruled for several years as Lord Protector of the republican Commonwealth of England but declined the kingship when parliament offered it to him in 1657. However within two years of his death on September 3, 1658, the monarchy was restored. In 1661 his body was exhumed and was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution.

Cromwell's suppression of a rebellion in Ireland in 1649 [1] still has strong resonance among the Irish. In particular, his massacre of all men carrying arms in Drogheda after its capture, including the killing of all prisoners as well as Catholic priests and many civilians, is one of the historical memories that has driven Irish-English and Catholic-Protestant strife throughout the centuries.