Foreign Policy, Division and Restoration


Peace with the Dutch

Treaty of Westminster 1654- SUCCESS

Cromwell wasn't happy with the Rump's war against the dutch- because they were a fellow protestant country that could be used as an alliance against the catholics

Peace with the Dutch meant that England would be able to trade in the Baltic again- improve the economy and power accross Europe

This peace treaty would also stop Charles Stuart exploiting his links with the Dutch Royal family- the House of Orange

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Western Design: War with Spain

Shows division in the protectorate council because Lambert disagreed with Cromwell over the attack on Spain- Lambert thought that France was a bigger threat and thought that the protectorate was not financially stable enough for this type of war

Cromwell's reasons were religious- he saw Spain as the anti-christ which had previously been countered by Elizabethan naval attacks, he wished to repeat that

Two leading commanders didn't get on, force was too small, and it was made up of small regiments that were hard to control rather than one unified force

Left in Dec 1654 but was defeated in April 1655 at San Domingo- defeat led to the major-generals

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Relations with France

Spanish were trying to turn Cromwell against the French and did so by offering generous terms e.g. free trade with spanish colonies, port of dunkirk and £300,000 a year while the war lasted

Piedmont Massacre 1655: killing of protestants in Northern Italy (an ally of the French) the Duke of Savoy, OC used diplomatic pressure to force the Duke to halt the persecutions

France was kept as an ally but Thurloe's papers show that OC aimed to keep conflict going between France and Spain because France was still seen as a threat.

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Baltic Policy

Charles X wanted Sweden to have total control of the baltic- that much so that he went to war with Denmark over it 1657

England was interested in making sure that no one power completely controlled the Baltic- and making sure that they could continue trading there

The Treaty of Rosklide 1658 made sure that there was peace between Sweden and Denmark and that trade was possible for England 

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Use of Sea Power

Used against the spanish e.g. capturing of the spanish plate fleet in 1656 which secured £250,000 worth of silver, the english fleet captured it again in 1657 although there was no silver on board that time

Used against French, Admiral Blake led the English fleet to mediterranean ports and blocked the french from attacking Naples, Italy (the heart of spain's power)

In the Baltic- the main powers were Sweden, Denmark and the Dutch, OC threatened to send fleets into the Baltic to counter Dutch influence- this ensured that the English could trade there- Richard Cromwell sent and English fleet there in 1659 to protect their interests

Used to hamper the power and support of Charles Stuart- pressured European powers so that they wouldn't help Charles. In 1656 Blake was sent to Lisbon to persuade Portugal to allow English merchants freedom to practise protestantarianism

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Overseas Trade

  • Cromwell lacked interest in the concerns of many trading companies e.g. the West Indies company proposed making a connection with the Indian Chief in Florida- this was rejected and so was the proposal to make a connection with the Caribbean
  • The Lenant company were concerned that the Venetians would be able to persuade Cromwell to support the Ottoman Empire with naval power 

Venning (1996) Cromwell lacked initiative and interest in the matter of trading was total- however the nature of the protectorate regime meant that his main concern was with the armys needs not trade

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Overall OC's foreign policy was very successful in raising the status of England in Europe, his successes include:

  • capture of Jamaica
  • peace with the Dutch
  • peace with the Ottoman Empire
  • stopping the Piedmont Massacre
  • port of Dunkirk
  • Treaty of Rosklide 

The foreign policy of England wasn't as stron again until the next century- Charles II's minister Clarendon referred to Cromwell by saying his 'greatness at home was but a shadow of the glory he had abroad'

Capp argued that the foreign policy through the protectorate had a major impact on the development of naval power in the future 

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