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Continental Matters - 1646 to 1649
With the final defeat of the remnant Royalist forces in England in late 1646, all strata of society, be they soldier, peasant, merchant, priest, could ready themselves to fix their torn and battered nation . When Cromwell returned home to London as a hero of the English Civil War, he was a prime choice to be promoted as the new head of state.Cromwell was offered the position of Lord Protector of the nation, but he declined, simply stating that the common people weren’t ready for a single person to hold that again, and chose to remain as part of the Parliament. The Parliament had a large task ahead of them, rebuilding and recovering the war torn countryside of England, and rebuilding relations with their European neighbors. The Parliament decided on renaming the nation to the “Commonwealth of England”, to distance itself from the recent toxin that was Charles’ former kingdom.
Of all the nations the Commonwealth could chose to create relations with, the Commonwealth decided to improve relations with the Dutch Republic first. Which had recently had signed the Peace of Munster on January 30, 1647. A large majority of the Parliament saw it key to secure greater relations with the Dutch Republic, before Frederick Henry died and his son William took power, as many believed that his wife Mary would possibly sour any relations that the Dutch Republic could have with the newly formed Commonwealth. Though luckily the Commonwealth and Frederick Henry were able to work out an alliance and good standing relations between the two nations, after a health scare in early March of that year. Afterwards, Henry was suggested to take a leave of absence and relax to hopefully improve his health, as his top doctors had advised him to do after the war with Spain and such stressful peace talks. Luckily, the relaxation did him good, as he healthily ruled until his peaceful passing in 1653. By that point the Commonwealth and William II had come to an understanding as to maintain their relationship. As William II had promised to not taint England as his wife’s father had done.
The Peace of Westphalia was a great victory not just for the Protestants, but also various sovereign kingdoms across Europe. The Swedes made great gains after the peace signings, claiming the former Danish lands in Northern Germany and knocking the Danish off their thrones as the proclaimed “strongest military of Northern Europe” and quickly saw fit to claim that title after their poor choice of joining the Habsburgs and Catholics. The Habsburgs supremacy was curtailed by their loss in the Thirty Years War; having to recognize the independence of the Dutch Republic and being passed over by the French and Bourbon Dynasty as the new supreme power in Europe struck at their pride greatly. They even opted to end their war with the French sooner to further avoid any more humiliation by their hands, paying them reparations and making small territorial exchanges with them. The Holy Roman Empire and Catholic Church’s power continued to decline after the peace signings, as many rulers in the Holy Roman Empire were allowed to choose their kingdoms religion and protestants and catholics were now seen as equals. An estimated 25-40% of the German State’s population did not survive the war, and as such would not see this “victory” as it was called, as they had lost their lives in the raids and battles of the Thirty Years’ War.
Map of Europe, following the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, 1647
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