Definition of Oliver Cromwell from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Oliver Cromwell

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(1599-1658) an English general and politician who for a short time ruled England, Scotland and Ireland. Cromwell was a Puritan who began his political career as the Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1628. When the English Civil War started in 1642, he gathered soldiers in his area to fight for Parliament and soon became the leader of the New Model Army and the greatest soldier in England. He was one of those who signed the death warrant of King Charles I in 1649. As a leader of the Commonwealth, he was responsible for the cruel treatment of those who were opposed to the Puritans in Ireland and Scotland. In 1653 Cromwell dismissed Parliament and became the Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, with almost the same power as a king. He was offered the crown, but refused it. In 1658, he died of malaria and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Cromwell's son Richard took his place as Lord Protector for a short time after his death, but he did not have his father's gifts as a leader, and in 1660 Charles II became king at the Restoration. Oliver Cromwell's body was dug up and his head was put on a pole on the roof of one of the buildings in Westminster for 24 years.Cromwell is also remembered for a famous remark he made to the artist Peter Lely (1618-80). People often say that something or somebody should be shown warts and all, meaning that faults or unpleasant features should not be left out.
Mr Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.
Oliver Cromwell