Oliver-Cromwell

“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,” Donald Trump said this week as he heard the special prosecutor’s footsteps.

Thus did our assured head of state, equal parts narcissistic and uninformed, rank his treatment worse than that of Benito Mussolini (executed corpse beaten and hung upside down in public square), Oliver Cromwell (body disinterred, drawn and quartered, hanged and head hung on spike), Leon Trotsky (exiled and killed with icepick to the skull), William Wallace (dragged naked by horses, eviscerated, emasculated, hanged and quartered) and the headless Louis XVI, Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I.

A Parliamentarian battle flag, back after 350 years. This ultra-rare English Civil War battle standard, due to go on public display for the first time in three and a half centuries, was kept and preserved by 11 generations of the same English country family. It will be on permanent show at the National Army Museum in London as from this coming Thursday. (National Army Museum).

IMPORTANT EVENTS AND THEIR DATES IN MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY

1453  Constantinople is sacked by Muslim forces

1488  Bartolomeu Diaz rounds the Cape of Good Hope

1492  Columbus encounters the Americas (God, Glory and Gold.)

1517  Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses

1520  Diet of Worms declares Martin Luther an outlaw

1524-1525  The Peasants’ Revolt takes place in Germany

1534  Act of Supremacy passed in England → Henry VIII becomes head of the Anglican Church

1545  Council of Trent begins The Counter Reformation

1555  Peace of Augsburg (cuius regio, eius religio →whose region, his religion)

1585-1589  War of the Three Henries in France

1588  Spanish Armada destroyed by the English and “The Protestant Wind”

1603  Elizabeth I Dies → Tudor Dynasty Ends and the Stuart Dynasty Begins

1618-1648  The Thirty Years War (Treaty of Westphalia ends the war in 1648)

1642-1646  English Civil War (Roundheads vs. the Cavaliers)

1649  Charles I is executed → Oliver Cromwell begins his rule

1660  Stuart Restoration in England through Charles II

1688-1689  Glorious Revolution in England→ William and Mary of Orange replace James II and sign the English Bill of Rights

1643-1715  Era of Louis XIV  The Sun King (l’etat c’est moi)

1689-1725  Reign of Peter the Great in Russia

1756-1763  The Seven Years War

1789-1799  Era of the French Revolution (Radical Stage → late 1792-1795)

1799  Napoleon comes to power

1805-1815  Napoleonic Wars are waged

1814-1815  The Congress of Vienna meets (Main principles: Legitimacy, Conservatism, Compensation & Balance of Power)

1819  Peterloo Massacre in England

1830  Belgian Independence

1832  Reform Bill in England Passed

1848  Revolutions break out across Western Europe (France, Austria, Italy and Germany)

1861  Serfs emancipated in Russia under Alexander II

1870-1871  Germany and Italy Unification

1884-1885  Berlin Conference is held (“Scramble for Africa”)

1894  Tsar Nicholas II comes to power in Russia (the last of the Romanovs)

1905  Sunday Bloody Revolution in Russia → “The Dress Rehearsal”

1914  Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated → WWI starts

1917  March and November (Bolshevik) Revolutions in Russia

1918  Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed →Russia withdraws from war

1918  WWI ends

1919  Treaty of Versailles is signed

1918-1921  Russian Civil War (Reds vs. Whites)

1922  Mussolini comes to power in Italy and establishes the 1st Fascist government

1922  Russia officially becomes known as the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) → The Soviet Union

1923  Adolf Hitler leads the Beer Hall Putsch in Germany

1924  Lenin dies

1928  Stalin is firmly entrenched as the leader of the Soviet Union → begins the first of several 5 year plans

1929  Stock Market Crash in the US → The Great Depression begins

1933  Hitler comes to power in Germany

1938  Munich Conference (Peace in our time→Neville Chamberlain)

1939  World War II starts with Germany’s invasion of Poland

1945  World War II ends (V-E Day → May 8, 1945 and V-J Day → August 15, 1945)

1945  First session of the United Nations is held

1945-1989  Cold War (U.S. vs. S.U. begins and begins to end in Poland)

POST WW II  Decolonization → European colonies become independent

1946  Winston Churchill gives the “Iron Curtain” speech

1948-1949 Operation Vittles→the Berlin Airlift

1949  USSR successfully tests first atomic bomb

1951  European Coal and Steel Community formed (sounds like the Zollverein)

1953  Stalin dies and is succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev → destalinization begins

1954  French forces defeated in French-Indochina at Dien Bien Phu

1956  Hungarian revolt against the Soviet Union → it is crushed by the Soviets

1957  Rome Treaty is signed → The European Economic Community (EEC) is created = Common Market

1957  Sputnik is launched by the Soviet Union → the first space satellite

1958  The fifth Republic is born in France and Charles de Gaulle becomes President

1961  Berlin Wall built → dividing East and West Berlin

1961  Soviet Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space

1962  Cuban Missile Crisis → 90 miles off the coast of Florida

1963  Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique is published

1964  Leonid Brezhnev becomes leader of the Soviet Union

1966  Under President Charles de Gaulle, France withdraws from the common NATO military command

1968  “Prague Spring” occurs in Czechoslovakia → it is crushed by the Soviets

1968  Student revolt in France (Paris)

1978  Pole Karol Wojtyla elected Pope → Pope John Paul II → 1st non-Italian in 455 years

1979  Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of England (“The Iron Lady”) (Mags loathes no one more than this heinous twat)

1979  The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan (eventually becomes their own “little Vietnam”)

1980  1st independent labor union in the Soviet Bloc formed  “Solidarity” led by Lech Walesa of Poland

1980  Ronald Reagan elected President of the US (calls the Soviet Union an “evil empire”)

1985  Gorbachev becomes Soviet leader (implements policies of perestroika and glasnost)

1986  Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in the Soviet Union (specifically the Ukraine)

1989  Berlin Wall comes down

1989  The “Velvet Revolution” occurs in Czechoslovakia → Vaclav Havel becomes President

1989  The Soviet Union withdraws its forces from Afghanistan

1989  Romanian leader Nicolai Ceausescu is overthrown and killed

1990  Lech Walesa becomes President of Poland

1990  East Germany and West Germany reunify into one Germany

1990  The first McDonalds opens in Russia

1991  Attempted coup attempt in the Soviet Union → The Soviet Union begins to disintegrate

1991  Boris Yeltsin becomes President of Russia → former 15 republics of the Soviet Union form the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.)

1991  Yugoslavia begins to break apart

1992  Maastricht Treaty signed

1997  Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister of England → 1st Labor Party leader in 18 years

1999  Eurodollar becomes the single currency of the European Union (EU)

Remains of Scottish soldiers who died 400 years ago to be reburied

The remains of Scottish soldiers who died of starvation and disease almost 400 years ago, after a brutal forced march when they were taken prisoner by Oliver Cromwell, will be reburied with honour near the site where where their bodies were tipped into a mass grave in the shadow of Durham cathedral.

The discovery, after three years of research on bones found during building work within the Unesco world heritage site of Durham palace and cathedral, resolves a centuries old puzzle about what happened to 6,000 prisoners taken by the English parliamentarian army under Cromwell after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

Some of the men were so ill they were freed immediately, some were shot for trying to escape and others succeeded in getting away, while many died on the 100-mile march south to Durham. Read more.

Oliver Cromwell
Monty Python
Oliver Cromwell

Friends, it’s time once again to drop a coin in the THE WONDER EMPORIUM JUKEBOX, and dance the night away to another toe-tappin’ melody of years past.

Today’s selection is “Oliver Cromwell,” the only track recorded specifically for the 1991 compilation album Monty Python Sings. It was written and performed by John Cleese, who originally sang it on the British radio show I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again in 1969. The song consists of an encylopedia-style rundown of Cromwell sung to the unsingable tune of Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise.

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The Siege of Gloucester, 1643, and the Origin of Humpty Dumpty

The Siege of Gloucester was an engagement in the First English Civil War between 10 August and 5 September 1643, between the defending Parliamentarian garrison of Gloucester and the besieging army of King Charles I.

On 10 August, the Royalist army arrived at Gloucester and promptly demanded that Colonel Edward Massey surrender. Massey refused and Royalist forces began digging in and setting up artillery batteries around the south and east gates of the city and also severed or diverted water pipes. The defenders burned houses and other obstacles outside the city walls. The bombardment of the city began.

However, over the next days, the defenders made several sallies from the gates, attacking and disabling Royalist artillery, taking prisoners and tools. Breaches in the wall were filled with cannon baskets and wool sacks. The Royalists made attempts to drain the city moat and fill it in at places.

As the siege was prolonged, the King requested his favourite, Prince Rupert, who was currently holding the newly captured port of Bristol, to acquire a newly built cannon from his friends and associates in the Low Countries. This was done post-haste and this huge cannon was shipped over to Bristol and escorted up the Severn Channel to Gloucester, to be positioned just outside the city walls (actually on the high wall of Llanthony Secunda priory in Hempsted), aimed at the cathedral itself.

Unfortunately for the King, his gunners had no experience of firing the brand new gun, especially one larger than they had ever used before, and, on its initial firing, the cannon exploded. With this failure and the excessive time spent trying to take Gloucester, the King had given Parliament enough time to gather huge London forces to march to its relief.

On 26 August the Earl of Essex left London with an army of 15,000 men to relieve the City. Meanwhile, the Royalist army began tunnelling to place a mine under the East Gate, but a sudden spell of bad weather flooded the tunnel, leaving enough time for the Earl of Essex to arrive and reinforce the city.

By the end of the siege, Massey had only three barrels of gunpowder left for the defence of the city.

It is claimed that the siege was also the origin for the rhyme Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty was said to be the name of an unprecedentedly large mortar imported from Holland. It was mounted on the walls of Llanthony Secunda Priory where the Royalist forces were encamped during the Siege of Gloucester. It was apparently named (disparagingly) after a famously rotund MP of the day. As the artillerymen trained their sights on Gloucester’s cathedral, the cannon misfired. Another assertion was that Humpty Dumpty was a ‘tortoise’ siege engine that featured a series of covered bridges to enable King Charles I’s men to cross the defensive ditch and scale the city walls. This second theory was put forward by Professor David Daube in The Oxford Magazine in 1956, but like many other origin theories of the nursery rhyme, it was a case of fitting square pegs into round holes.