Rebellion and Cromwellian Wars

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The ruler of England was also the ruler of Ireland for most of the 16th century, which meant that when decisions were made in England, similar decisions were made for Ireland too.

In the 1600s, the King of England was King Charles I. However, England also had its own parliament. The parliament and the king often quarrelled over money that the king wanted for wars and other expenses.

In 1642, a civil war started in England. People who supported the king were called the Royalists. Those who supported the Parliament were called and the Parliamentarians. The Parliamentarians were lead by a man called Oliver Cromwell. People in Ireland began to take sides too. Many people in Ireland were in favour of the king and many battles were fought against the Parliament forces.

End of the Civil War

In 1649, the English Civil War ended. The king was executed in 1649 and Cromwell took over as the Lord Protector. He decided to punish all those who had supported the King. He came to Ireland in 1649 with a large army and laid siege to Drogheda. The town fell and the people were put to death. Cromwell also attacked Wexford. The cruel treatment which Cromwell gave to those who surrendered meant that people in Ireland lived in fear of him and his army. Gradually all Irish towns submitted to Cromwell.

Galway was the last town to surrender to the forces of Cromwell in 1652. A lot of land was burned and food supplies were destroyed in order to prevent the Parliamentarians from being attacked. This caused famine in Ireland . Large numbers of civilians and armies on both sides also died of plague.