Oliver Cromwell - Public domain

Cromwell’s Conquests in Ireland

Oliver Cromwell - Public domain

par Guide Irlande

Oliver Cromwell’s Conquests in Ireland are one of the darkest chapters in Irish history. The massacres were numerous, and decimated a large part of the Irish population, plunging it into poverty and misery. Here is the story of this troubled time, when Cromwell, a Protestant Briton, crushed the Kingdom of Ireland and Scotland under his boot…

History of the Conquests of Cromwell in Ireland

A Punitive Expedition in Response to the Irish Confederate Wars

Oliver Cromwell – Public Domain

The Conquests of Cromwell start in 1649, when Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant British soldier, sets foot in Ireland. At that time, Ireland is torn apart by the Irish Confederate Wars (1641-1653), a civil war resulting from a higher conflict, called “the War of the 3 Kingdoms”, where the Kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland wish to emancipate themselves from the Kingdom of England and its monarch Charles I, to obtain their independence and the right to choose their own religion, and not the one ordered by the king…

This war made King Charles I unpopular, and Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), a member of the British House of Commons, decided to become the direct opponent of the King. He formed a cavalry regime of Protestant Puritans, nicknamed the “Ironsides”, and then succeeded in leading the King to failure, purifying Parliament and bringing Charles I before an extraordinary commission that voted to execute the monarch in January 1649.

Cromwell then becomes a symbol, and decides to settle the other during the conflict in Ireland and Scotland…

Cromwell is crushing the Irish in blood

Cromwell landed in Dublin in August 1649, with an army of 12,000 men at his head. He then began a series of battles and sieges against the Irish Catholics.

He first seized the city of Drogheda, murdering the entire population of the city (more than 3,000 people). This was followed by the massacre of the town of Wexford, where civilians and soldiers were coldly shot by British Protestants.

The battles and confrontations of Cromwell then last more than 3 years, and increase the Irish population from 1 466 000 to 616 000 inhabitants. Women and children were massacred and deported to Virginia and the West Indies, while many civilian and military men were murdered or fled to France and Spain. Cromwell’s major battles in Ireland are known to have been savagely deadly. Among the bloodiest, let us note especially these:

Cromwell then leaves Ireland for Scotland, succeeds in suppressing the Presbyterian revolts, unites Scotland to England by force and is then appointed “Lord Protector of the Republic of England, Scotland and Ireland” in 1653. He then left behind a bloodless Ireland, where Catholics suffered severe political and religious oppression through discriminatory penal laws. The British Protestant settlers settled there en masse, and asserted their supremacy over the Irish…

The wealth gap widens tirelessly and quickly plunges the Irish into misery and famine…


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