The Consolidation of the Republic 1649-1651


Rump Government

  • Those who committed the regicide of Charles II now had the problem of establishing a new government.
  • Ireland was a Royalist stronghold and in February 1649 Charles II was declared King in Scotland. 
  • The Rump declared it had sole legislative authority, it elected the Council of the State (government similar to the Privy Council), in March 1649 the monarchy and House of Lords were abolished, in May England declared to be a 'Commonwealth and a free state' governed by a single chamber government. 
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The Third Civil War and Foreign Policy

  • No foreign monarchies were prepared to recognise the legitimacy of the Rump after it executed Charles I, and therefore the navy was bolstered by 20 new warships. 
  • The navy supported Cromwell in Ireland and the Third Civil War against the Royalist Scots.
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  • Cromwell landed in Ireland with 20,000 in August 1649 to suppress Catholic Royalist sympathisers. 
  • Rebellious forces had controlled Ireland since the initial uprising in 1641. 
  • He expected a swift victory but only achieved success after the sieges of Drogheda and Wexford, slaughtering thousands of defenders after they had surrendered. 
  • He justified the massacre by referring to it as Divine Providence. 
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  • In 1650 Cromwell returned to England to conquer Scotland, leaving Ireton to complete the Irish campaign.
  • Scots cut ties with England after the execution of Charles I.
  • Charles II was declared King and made peace with the Covenanters, then they assembled an army to invade England.
  • Fairfax was reluctant to attack Scotland first, so Cromwell was appointed Commander-in-Chief and the Third Civil War began.
  • September 1650 Cromwell defeated the Scots at Dunbar with 15,000 men.
  • A year later Charles led his army south hoping to gain support but was defeated at Worcester on 3rd September 1651.
  • Charles fled to Europe, and the Rump now controlled all the British Isles.
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The Dutch

  • The United Provinces was a Protestant state and one of the few to recognise the Rump from early 1651. 
  • The Navigation Act in 1651 resulted in anger from the Dutch, as their received much of their revenue from transatlantic trade and the inability to use English ports had a detrimental impact on their financial position. 
  • The First Anglo-Dutch War 1652-54 began when a Dutch ship refused to salute the English. 
  • The war continued a year after the Rump was dissolved.
  • The war ended when Cromwell signed the Treaty of Westminster in 1654, hoping to forge an alliance with the Dutch. 
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