| Guest Historian David Atwell says, what if Oliver Cromwell accepted the crown? David Atwell's series can be read in full on the Changing the Times Web Site in Part One and Part Two. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit David Atwell site.|
In 1657, on this day Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed the King of England despite his earlier doctrinal objection to the office "I would not seek to set up that which Providence hath destroyed and laid in the dust, and I would not build Jericho again".
Oliver I (1657-1658) was the founder of the current Royal House of Britain & that of the Royal House of America, until that nation became a Republic in 1964 due to a constitutional crisis.
Although Oliver had a short reign as King, he had been all that but in name since the end of the First English Civil War in 1649, when the then current King Charles I (Stuart) was executed. From there, with the full support of the Parliamentary New Model Army, he defeated Stuart Loyalist uprisings in both Ireland & Scotland.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 1 Oliver I (1657-1658) by David AtwellFrom there, Oliver lead the English to victory over the Dutch in 1654 which ensured that the Royal Navy would dominate the seas until the Twentieth Century. In the process of victory, Oliver rejected an offer of the Crown but accepted the position of Protector in 1653. Later in 1657, he was once again offered the Crown, & after much debate from colleagues & friends, decided that a "Puritan gentleman, of humble origins, may indeed make a very good & Godly English King for the good graces of all Englishmen".
"I would not seek to set up that which Providence hath destroyed and laid in the dust, and I would not build Jericho again".Throughout the period of Protectorship & Kingship, other than the various conflicts which Britain found herself in, Oliver established probably the more important legacy Britain, & later America, would come to cherish: a nationwide education system. The Puritans placed great importance on education in both religious & secular matters. Thus by the time of Oliver's death, every village, town & city in Britain had some kind of school of one type or another ensuring that, by the turn of the century, about 80% of the population were literate.
Oliver's claim to the throne, unlike the Stuart's, was in reality based upon the power of the military. Although this was never stated anywhere, the Cromwell Dynasty would have never survived its first year, let alone a long history on the Throne of Britain, without Oliver's control of the New Model Army. In order to gather a legitimate claim to the Throne, however, several writers at the time, & needless to say many ever since, argued that the Cromwells were actually descended from the ancient Welsh Powys Royal Household, which thus fulfilled an old prophesy whereby a descendant of this ancient Royal House would one day become king of Britain & establish a long line of successors. The Cromwells have ever since accepted this claim & used it to justify their Dynasty. Needless to say, the Cromwell Royal Household has always enjoyed overwhelming Welsh support.
In 1801, on this day William Cromwell was crowned King William I of America.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 10 - William I of America (1801-1833) by David AtwellWilliam ensured that a very successful second Cromwell Kingdom was established, this time, in North America. He also oversaw major political reforms at both the provincial & national levels; the most important of which permitted all males over the age of 21 being able to vote &/or participate in elections. As a last act of reform, in 1830, the appointed American House of Lords was reformed into a democratically elected Senate.
Apart from the hurried domestic activity, William I also had to face the problem of war in Europe. Although America was somewhat isolated from the Napoleonic Wars, the British nonetheless demanded all sorts of help. Even though William was a Cromwell, he & the American Parliament were not keen on the idea of getting involved. Nelson?s naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805, however, convinced the Americans that the war was almost over & they should get involved as a matter of honour.
The thought that the French were about to collapse was further reinforced when the Royal American Army invaded the recently acquired French territory of Louisiana in 1806. Only a handful of French troops offered any resistance & these were quickly dealt with. Alas a short ending to the war was not to be the case & the Royal American Army, along with their British counterparts, would have to slog it out in Spain, Portugal & southern France for some 7 years (1807-1814), then get dragged back into the vortex of battle the following year, before victory was finally achieved. Louisiana was annexed after the Napoleonic Wars in 1816.
In 1658, on this day Richard Cromwell was proclaimed the King of England immediately after the death of his father; the thirty-two year old monarch would be faced by two immediate problems.
The first was the army, which questioned his position as commander given his lack of military experience.
The second was the financial position of the regime, with a debt estimated at ?2 million. Unable to resolve these problems, Cromwell's enemies dubbed him Tumbledown Dick or Queen Dick for his indecisive character.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 2 - Richard IV (1658-1660) by David AtwellRichard was never ready to become King. Furthermore, Richard was the target of constant plots & had to be saved on several occasions thanks to Oliver's supporters in the government, Parliament &, more importantly, the New Model Army.
After only two years he abdicated from the throne on the eve of an invasion by Charles Stuart "The Pretender". He would establish the Richards line of the Royal Family of Cromwell.
In 1660, on this day Henry Cromwell was proclaimed the King of England upon the abdication of his elder brother Richard
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 3 - Henry IX (1660-1688) by David AtwellKnown as Henry "The Wise", Henry IX was everything his father was & more. In doing so, he established the Henris Line of the Royal Family in the process of ruling Britain.
Prior to accepting the Throne, he was Governor-General to Ireland until rumours were heard that Charles Stuart was going to invade Britain. He immediately took over the Crown from his abdicating brother, Richard IV, rushed north with the New Model Army, the Corps of Welsh Guardsmen & his Irish Model Army, defeating Charles "The Pretender" in Scotland near Dunbar.
Charles escaped to France whilst his Scottish allies feared the retribution of Henry. Unlike his father Oliver I, however, Henry IX showed "Christian compassion to his wayward Scottish subjects". General Monck, though, an English turncoat was not as lucky & was executed for High Treason in 1661.
Following on from the "compassion" that Henry showed to the Scots, Henry followed his example of government policy in Ireland & established the policy of "Toleration" for all of Britain. Later in 1680, he defeated further attempts by the Stuarts (James Stuart this time) to retake the Throne of England & Scotland. In his final years, he transferred much power to Parliament in exchange for the Act of Union (1686), which established the United Kingdom of England, Scotland & Wales.
Ireland remained a separate political entity with its own Parliament & Governor-General. This arrangement would be successful & acted as a blueprint for future political arrangements throughout much of the future British Empire. Furthermore, Ireland would be somewhat independent & saw its own Parliament deal reasonably well in domestic matters, with little interference from the British Parliament at Westminster, or indeed by the various Cromwellian Monarchs.
The immediate result of Henry?s policy of "Toleration", however, witnessed two circumstances, which, even though appeared to offer little importance at the time, made in fact a major impact upon Britain & Ireland. The more immediate of the two permitted people to observe whichever religion that they wished to follow. This also included Catholicism, albeit with restrictions. The result was that much of the fuss involved with the English Civil Wars was negated overnight & the Stuarts found it harder to gain support, especially in Ireland.
The second circumstance, as a result of "Toleration", was protection given to the Jews. Although many of the general public still entertained anti-Semitic attitudes, many Jews, nevertheless, arrived in Britain to begin new lives under the protection of the Throne. These Jews soon established various businesses & flourished. They would become the cornerstone of the financial strength of the British economy over the next 25 years & contribute greatly to the development of the British Empire in the next century.
In 1688, on this day Edward VII (1688-1702) accepted the terms of Parliament, in regards to the new Act of Accession, in order to take the Crown.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 4 - Edward VII (1688-1702) by David AtwellIn doing so, Oliver Cromwell (pictured) of the Richards Line was rejected & the Henris would continue to be the main Royal Lineage until the establishment of the Kingdom of America.
Unlike Henry IX rule, Edward?s was a rather quiet affair. British trade, on the other hand, began to dominate the region & was the firm foundation for the future British Empire.
In 1702, on this day Robert Cromwell was crowned King of England.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 5 - Robert (1702-1722) by David AtwellRobert oversaw a tough time for Britain. War commenced with France & Spain in North America. As a consequence of the ongoing war, Robert accepted Parliament's plan for the creation of the Commonwealth of Northern America. This was principally an effort to organise the American colonies to fight the war efficiently & effectively on behalf of Britain.
Although it had an Advisory Council, a Governor-General ruled on behalf of the Crown. After the British were victorious over the French & Spanish, local discontent eventually forced Robert to request Parliament to copy "the Irish governmental system for My colonies in America". Alas Robert died before this was achieved.
In 1722, on this day Oliver Cromwell II was crowned King of England.
Known as the "Great Reformer", Oliver pushed through many reforms during his reign that saw the voting franchise in Britain drastically increase to include 50% of the male population. This new franchise was based upon higher educational standards & the "new money classes", as against the previous franchise qualification of "right by ancestral position". Furthermore, Oliver II continued his father's wishes & America got its own Parliament with the same powers, responsibilities & duties as the British Parliament in Westminster.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 6 - Oliver II (1722-1749) by David AtwellIn 1745, an aging Oliver had to fight off the final invasion attempt of the Stuarts. This time "Bonnie" Prince Charlie (pictured) landed in Scotland, raised a Highland Stuart Army & invaded England. After some initial success, forces loyal to the Cromwell Royal Household (that being most of the army in England & Wales), chased the Stuart Army out of England & eventually destroyed it at the Battle of Culloden. "Bonnie" Prince Charlie managed to escape, but not his followers. Little mercy was shown to the Highlanders.
Although Britain had already established its empire by 1730, this was greatly increased in 1748 by conquests in India. Even though not all of India was in British hands, over half nonetheless came under direct British control. Much of the remaining regions were in one type of allegiance or another with the British, whether it be military, trade &/or political.
In 1749, on this day Charles Cromwell II was crowned King of England.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 7 - Charles II (1749-1754) by David AtwellIll health plagued Charles all his life & his reign (1749-1754) was thus short. As a result, the position of Prime Minister was established to act on his behalf in Cabinet meetings & the general running of the country. The position proved to be highly successful & Parliament decided to make the appointment a permanent one.
In 1754, on this day Andrew Cromwell II was crowned King of England. Andrew reigned during a difficult period for Britain. He witnessed the Industrial Revolution in Britain thoroughly change both the physical & cultural landscape. America was also effected, but more so by higher standards of education, a booming domestic economy & a growing population, which eventually led to calls for independence. Andrew, though, was not at all keen on letting the Americans have any reforms, even though Parliament was prepared to allow some new arrangements in America. In the end, however, nothing got done in American political reform.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 8 - Andrew (1754-1788) by David AtwellThe impasse in American reform came about due to the complete conquest of India. The British Parliament, however, kept India as a separate political entity & a Viceroy was appointed to govern the country on behalf of the Crown. Furthermore, to ensure that the world understood who was in charge of India, the British Monarch accepted the Indian Throne. King Andrew was thus crowned Emperor of India in 1785. All future British Monarchs (until Indian independence in 1947) would automatically gain the Indian Title as well.
As a consequence of the British presence in India, Australia was rapidly colonised during this period in an effort to ensure that the French, Dutch, or anyone else for that matter, did not assert control over this recently discovered continent. The result of all this activity for Britain was that it was the most powerful nation on Earth. Furthermore, Andrew was the Earth's most powerful Monarch. It is no wonder, then, that he refused American requests for political reforms, regardless how conservative these requests may have been.
In 1788, on this day Henry Cromwell X was crowned King of England. Henry X was a very different man from his father Andrew. Highly educated (he had a doctorate in history from Cambridge University), Henry was very much an enlightened & liberal minded man. As a result, America finally got its freedom, even though it had to accept the second Royal Lineage of Cromwells as the American Monarchy. The Richards Line of the House of Cromwell was thus established as the Royal Family of the Kingdom of America. The American Parliament accepted this arrangement, albeit with many unhappy members. Prince William-Richard hence became King William of the Americans in 1801.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 9 - Henry (1788-1821) by David AtwellKing Henry X reign, although long, was also a hard one. Even though the Americans were somewhat placated by 1800, the French underwent the Revolution & its aftermath. The result was the French Revolutionary Wars & the subsequent Napoleonic Wars that followed. These wars moreover did not go well for Britain on land.
The Royal Navy, however, had numerous important victories over the French which ensured British domination of the seas. The land war, though, was an entirely different matter & it was not until 1813 when Britain finally gained the upper hand over the French. Yet, war with France started up again shortly thereafter & was eventually defeated for good at the Battle of Waterloo (1815) by a combined Allied Army, which included units from Britain, Germany, America, Holland & Belgium.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.