East India Company

What’s in a Name: The Death of the English Civil War

Martyn Bennett examines how the terminology we use about the great conflict of the mid-seventeenth century reflects and reinforces the interpretations we make.

"Cromwell at Dunbar", by Andrew Carrick GowThe enduring symbol of the crisis which gripped the British Isles during the middle of the seventeenth century is the name given to it, 'The English Civil War'. Yet this symbol is itself problematic and can even act as a barrier to a clear understanding of what happened in that turbulent century. It may be argued that calling the conflict the English Civil War limits the scope of our perceptions. By labelling it an English event, we can marginalise Scotland and Ireland and perhaps even ignore Wales altogether. Yet all four nations were involved in the rebellions, wars and revolutions that made up the period.

Want the full article and website archive access?

Subscribe now

Already a member? Log in now

 

The History Today Newsletter

Sign up for our free weekly email

X