Overview of the Civil War

The reign of Charles I, beginning in 1625, deteriorated into civil war and regicide. But the republic set up in his place was ousted by military rule under Oliver Cromwell. Then in 1660 the monarchy was restored under Charles II.

Charles I and the Petition of Right

Learn how relations between Charles I and Parliament started off badly in the first few years of his reign

The Personal Rule of Charles I

Charles was able to rule without Parliament for 11 years. But what forced him to summon two Parliaments in 1640?

The Long Parliament

The Long Parliament wanted to dismantle the structures of Personal Rule. What measures, some of them drastic, did they take?

The breakdown of 1641-2

The King and Parliament had been arguing for months. But what tipped the country over into civil war in 1642?

Presbyterians, Independents and the New Model Army

Discover how Parliament won the first civil war against the king €“ despite being torn apart with its own internal divisions

Pride's Purge, 'the Rump' and regicide

By June 1649 England was a Commonwealth. What had happened to the King and House of Lords by that time?

The Rump dissolved

Learn about the first two experiments in republican rule in England and Oliver Cromwell's military coup of government

The Protectorate Parliaments

A statue of Oliver Cromwell stands outside the Houses of Parliament. Was he really the great defender of parliamentary rule?

Changes in representation in the Commons

Learn about the Interregnum reforms to the Commons, many of which were not seen again until the 19th century

The end of the Protectorate

Charles II was restored to the throne. What happened to bring this change about?

Great rebellion, English Revolution or War of Religion?

Discover more about how historians have interpreted the events of the Civil War over the centuries

Related information

Also in this section

1603-1660: A chronology of events charting the lead up to the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell's time in power, and the eventual Restoration of the monarchy


You can access biographies of

Charles I
Oliver Cromwell
Charles II

from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for free, online, using your local library card number (includes nine out of ten public libraries in the UK) or from within academic library and other subscribing networks.