The Civil Wars

In recent decades few fields of historical inquiry have produced as rich a body of work as the British Civil Wars. Sarah Mortimer offers a guide to the latest scholarship.

A woodcut in a broadside of 1643 shows the Puritan nightmare, a body politic mde up of half papist and half cavalierBetween 1639 and 1651 the British were at war with each other in a bloody conflict that claimed the lives of about 200,000 people. Contemporaries recognised this as a civil war, in which families were divided and citizens took up arms against each other. But it ended with defeat for the monarch, Charles I,  and his execution in 1649, an outcome that quickly became seen as a ‘Revolution’.

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