Truly England and the church of God hath had a great favour from the lord, in this great victory given us.
— Oliver Cromwell

Born in 1599, Oliver Cromwell was the son of a Robert Cromwell, a not particularly wealthy man, but still a member of the English gentry. Cromwell's early life was rather obscure until the 1630s, when he became a devout Puritan. In 1628, Cromwell was elected to Parliament, before, in 1629, Charles I of England avoided calling parliament and took personal, absolute power, however, in 1640, he needed money for supressing rebellion in Scotland, and so had to recall Parliament. Tensions over religion and the balance of power between the king and Parliament soon broke out, sparking the First English Civil War. Cromwell joined on the side of Parlimentarians or "Roundheads", leading a unit of cavalry. Cromwell's first major action was in the Battle of Marston Moor, his cavalry playing a major role in the Parliamentarian victory by breaking the Royalist lines, causing severe casualties to the Royalist infantry. During the Civil War, instituted a number of military reforms, known as the New Model Army. These reforms included the creation of a full-time professional army with standardized equipment, and promotions awarded through merit, rather than social class.

This new army met the Royalists at the Battle of Naseby in 1645, where the Royalists were routed by Cromwell's superior forces. The battle led to the end of the first English Civil War.

After a brief period of peace, failure to come to an agreement with Charles I led to a the outbreak of a brief second civil war, it which Cromwell's New Model Army crushed the Royalist forces in Wales and Scotland. After the victory, Charles I was executed by the order of Parliament in 1649.

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