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The Commonwealth

My entry for MotF 47: A surviving Commonwealth after Cromwell lives 10 years more.


One cannot help but wonder, that if Cromwell had lived a longer life, whether the monarchy would have ever been restored. Had he lived ten more years the populous may have been so used to a Republic the idea of having a king again may have been repugnant. [link]

The PoD is Oliver Cromwell not dying in 1658, but instead living for another 10 years. He still suffers from the bout of malarial fever and septicemia, but with better doctors he manages to pull through. His close call is seen by him as a warning from God that the Commonwealth is as fragile as he is, and that he must " all to stabalise it and insure it's continuation, so that [the Commonwealth] may continue in freedom as I watch it from above in the Lord's company".

In those 10 years Cromwell, along with his son Richard and advisers, begin to reform the Commonwealth. Similar to the rule of the Major-generals, the nation (including Scotland and Ireland) is split up into 11 regions, each with a leader nominated by Cromwell (almost entirely military men) to sit in the Council of State. This time however each region was split onto sub-regions, 2 from each of the 8 English regions (making 16), 1 from the Isle of Man, and 4 from both Scotland and Ireland; this created the 25 member Upper House for the new Commonwealth, the House of Governors. The Governors were in theory "elected", but they were usually local men nominated by local city leaders, councils etc. Below them was the 500-man Commonwealth Parliament.

The other great leap forward was in the still-existing Commonwealth colonies in North America. Cromwell continued to believe in the Western Design, despite the not entirely great success in the Anglo-Spanish War. Instead he focused on the settling of the existing colonies in North America, all but one (Maryland) declared their strong support for the Commonwealth. Maryland was a mainly Catholic province, and it's Governor, Lord Baltimore, had created in effect the last place English Catholics could be safe from persecution. This situation was tolerated but stretched to breaking point as the English courts exiled more and more Catholics to the colony, and it expanded further north along the border with the Dutch colony. Maryland soon became the most populated province in the whole continent, mainly full of people who's loyalty to the Commonwealth was "low" at best. What happened next was not entirely unexpected.

The American Revolution (or American Restoration as it was sometimes known) had a clear starting point, the emergence of the exiled Charles II from a Dutch trading ship in the port of New Amsterdam, 1667. With some assistance form the Dutch, who lost the First Anglo-Dutch War in 1652 against Cromwell's Navy, and who were also worried about the growing Anglo-French ties), Charles had managed to sneak into Maryland where, sheltered by Lord Baltimore, he proclaimed himself King in Maryland and of England, Scotland and Ireland in exile. The Catholics in the province provided a large support base, and it was soon clear when the news reached London months later that there was little the Commonwealth could do.

Cromwell had forbidden any major military build up in the colonies, still unsure of the situation at home and wary of the fact that many of the best Generals from the New Model Army were important members of one of the three sections of the government. As such the Commonwealth response to the announcement was only to send an emissary to St Mary's City to check on the accuracy of the claim and to repeal the charter from the colony if true. By the time he got there the Carolinian Kingdom of Maryland had had over 6 months to prepare themselves, along with arms supplied subtly by French supporters and less subtly by the Dutch and Spanish. Even Cromwell realised mounting a military campaign over the Atlantic was near impossible, especially with the possibility (that they had made quite clear) of Spanish and Dutch support for the Kingdom and French neutrality. Instead in his speech, delivered to the Commonwealth Parliament in July 1668, and one of his last, he made clear his position that "it is better that he is over there than over here, indeed he seems to have saved us the trouble of exiling himself there". Although unpopular, the Commonwealth reached a settlement on the borders of the Kingdom, the first independent European state in the new world, and that it must be neutral in all European affairs. Charles, and his descendants, would continue to claim the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland.

This map shows the Commonwealth and North America in around about 1700, the Charles mentioned is Charles II of Maryland, III of England, Scotland and Ireland.
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Kellkrull87's avatar
repr0bus's avatar
Pax Quaeritur Bello--Peace is sought through war, from Cromwell's personal arms.
Kellkrull87's avatar
Good to know after almost 2 years. :)
Maybe the Great Briton of the twentieth century would have been a powerful and possibly a fascist nation, somewhat like Germany under the Nazi's, but without the antisemitism. A very interesting scenario. I am one of those Anglo-Americans who thinks Cromwell was the best thing that ever happened to Briton.
JWWalker's avatar
Soooo.... I like it! I did something similar once, where I designed some nice little maps where Maryland, chunks of the Ohio Territory, and the Pacific Northwest all got slapped onto Canada. It was great!

But this map baffles me!

Under what circumstances would the colony of Virginia be renamed Pennyslvania? Virginia was older than Pennsylvania or Maryland, and Penn got his charter via a royal grant, same as the Calverts.

And incidentally, it might interest you to know that during the OTL English Civil War, Maryland did fight quite regularly with protestants from Virginia. We had pre-existing territorial disputes, so it was a great excuse. That's how our capital got moved from St. Mary's to Annapolis! (When the Catholics lost. It kinda stuck.)

Finally, for the purposes of your world-building: the Lord Baltimore of the time, Cecil Calvert, never actually traveled to Maryland. (And Proprietor and Governor were always very different jobs. The former mostly stayed in England and appointed the latter from amongst Marylanders.) He spent most of the English Civil War putzing around in England trying not to get his proprietorship taken away. Also ironically, in 1648 (I did a bit of googling on this) he appointed a Puritan named William Stone as governor. Stone was loyal to the proprietor and the crown, and fought against William Claiborne, a Puritan who lead the Parliamentarian forces that took over Virginia and Maryland at the time. Personally, I think the jerk was just still bitter over the fact that the Calverts took Kent Island away from him.
IronPiedmont1996's avatar
This is cool looking. How did y'all do it?
ZemplinTemplar's avatar
Impressive bit of work, well done. :-) Can't help it, I have a thing for artsy-fartsy AH maps.
One of your best works
slifer2534's avatar
only thing id suggest is moving the scottish lion and irish hard on charles coat of arms around, so it doesnt have blue aboe blue..ocs that kinda goes against english/brtiish heraldry

but awesome work ^^
slifer2534's avatar
also thinking on it, i dunno why you have a commonwealth flag, jack and naval flag...the term "jack" in otl is the naval union was used on ships and jack became a nickname thats stuck nowadays for the union flag
Ennio444's avatar
The more I look into this map, the more I like it.

However, I must ask: how do you do the grids, and the scales, the proportions of the borders... these are things that can't be easily done with Photoshop. You're using Inkscape, or some other vector program?

I want to make a map with this kind of layout (text, different maps of the homeland and the colonies, etc), but making the grid and the "template" is driving me nuts. Thanks!
TomBombardier's avatar
Is Maryland populated by a large chunk of the people evicted from the Irish west coast for the Plantations for the Parlimentarianists? The Channel Islands still a Royalist Stronghold or were they pawned off at some point to France? I should also like to point out that Mary was a bit more than a Saint to Catholics, with the Crown of Stars being equated to the Queen of Heaven. As for the lack of a monarchy, I will guess that their is still the position of Lord Protector. Might his hopefully-more-experienced-by-now son take that position from or take Chairmanship from Man? Seems as good a place as any to, since it was an independent country before. Just move the privileges to the Cromwells.
TomBombardier's avatar
Also, how is New England so much larger without as many Puritans heading over there?
Martin23230's avatar
Maryland is mainly populated by Catholics from all over the country, quite a few Irish certainly but also several English royalists.
The Channels Islands were given back to France as part of the Commonwealth-French alliance, the port of Dunkirk which the Commonwealth (with French support) won in the Anglo-Spanish War was also given to France.
Very true on the Mary iconography, but I needed a new symbol for Maryland as the Calvert arms obviously couldn't be used.
There is still a Lord Protector but some of the Government is set out in the detail; the Council of State, the House of Governors and the Commonwealth Parliament.
Mann was a bit of a hard thing to deal with; in the end I just made it a region of England. I can imagine quite a bit of controversy taking place over that.
Remember this is now 42 years after Cromwell's death, the colonial colonies aren’t to different in size to what they were in our 1700, just replace the Puritans fleeing Royal Oppression to other groups fleeing Republican Oppression. Also note just because it is coloured in the map doesn’t mean it is settled, often sparsely or not at all.
fennomanic's avatar
I just watched document about English Civil War yesterday :o Good work BTW
Martin23230's avatar
Weird! And thanks.
fennomanic's avatar
mdc01957's avatar
Great as always! And I like those monarchist rogues in Maryland...;)
Martin23230's avatar
Indeed, they came from a casual idea (what would Maryland do?) all the way up to a Kingdom in exile!
mdc01957's avatar
It's a fascinating thought. Though it seems as though it's surrounded...
Martin23230's avatar
Ah, but the Dutch and Spanish support it openly and the French subtly. If the Commonwealth invaded then they might face war with Spain and the Netherlands with the French neutral.
mdc01957's avatar
At least they've got a stable homeland-in-exile. Though I wonder how much land they'd get before deciding to "liberate" the other colonies.
Martin23230's avatar
I doubt it would remain stable for long, that's for sure.
mdc01957's avatar
Maybe it's a wait and see thing.
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