Charles I

Civil War and Execution

There were no decisive victories in the civil war until Charles was defeated at Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645). In 1646 he gave himself up to the Scottish army, which delivered him to Parliament. He was ultimately taken over by the English army leaders, who were now highly suspicious of Parliament. He escaped (Nov., 1647) to Carisbrooke, on the Isle of Wight, where he concluded an alliance with the discontented Scots, which led to the second civil war (1648) and another royalist defeat. Parliament, now reduced in number by Pride's Purge (see under Pride, Thomas) and controlled by Charles's most powerful enemies, established a special high court of justice (see regicides), which tried Charles and convicted him of treason for levying war against Parliament. He was beheaded on Jan. 30, 1649. To the royalists he became the martyred king and author of the Eikon Basilike. By his opponents he was considered a double-dealing tyrant.

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies