THE GLORIOUS REVOLUTION OF 1688

The so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England was preceded by a thirty years religious war in central Europe plus a civil war on its own shores between monarchists and parliamentarians.

This was later followed by a unification of England Scotland Ireland and Wales to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 and introduce to the world the flag of the Union Jack.

The significance of the Glorious Revolution was that an English monarch was replaced with one from a foreign nation, that of the Dutch Republic, by the will of the people.

James II was the reigning monarch and was a sworn catholic.

James II had two daughters.  One, Mary, was married to William of Orange in the Netherlands.  They were protestants.  A third child, a boy, was born in June 1688.

The political motivations of James II and the sensitivity of the English people to a situation which posed a threat to the protestant succession in Enland, justified action by a group of English bishops to approach William and Mary to take over the monarchy.

When James’ other daughter Anne declared her allegiance against her Father, the English people empathized with William and Mary.

William of Orange prepared to invade on a mercy mission and arrived to English shores with a combination of armed and naval forces four times greater than that which had comprised the Spanish Armada a century before.

He actually arrived on 5th November, a date celebrated by the English for the failure of the Gunpowder Plot by a group of catholic militants in 1605.

There was no coup or actual invasion.  There was no engagement of war.

Britain was staunchly protestant and there was to be ‘no turning back of the clocks’.

James II fled to the continent.  William and Mary were enthroned as King and Queen in a coronation on 18th February 1869.

They jointly ruled for thirteen years and accepted constitutional monarchy.  In other words, Parliament made the decisions which affected the English people, not the monarch.

The Age of Enlightment and Reason was the mindset of the day. A Bill of Rights was passed in parliament during William and Mary’s rule which recognized the need for democracy, greater freedom of expression of the people and individual liberty.

The eventuality of union between England Scotland Ireland and Wales followed in 1707.

It was only the beginning of a Glorious Revolution as Great Britain used naval supremacy for trade, commerce and military strength to create a commonwealth of nations in the name of colonialism.

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