As this is going to be a game that takes place in the beginnings of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, one of the things that I think we need to establish early on in the process of writing and working is what exactly do I mean when I say “Wars of the Three Kingdoms”? Isn’t it the same as the English Civil War?
Not exactly – the English Civil Wars were only one of the conflicts raging in the Atlantic Archipelago in the mid-seventeenth century (1600-1699). The reason why I use the periodization/name “Wars of the Three Kingdoms” is because that acknowledges that there was much more going on than just what was happening in England. Just calling it the “English Civil War” ignores or minimizes the conflicts happening elsewhere, which were sometimes just as or more important than what was happening in England. Only by including Scotland and Ireland can we really get a full picture of what was going on at the time.
It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s important.
This timeline then is only the beginning of what I’ll be working on to tell the story of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms – especially what was going on in Ireland. I’ll keep adding to it as I find more important events and right now this relies heavily on Wikipedia for additional information and links.
I’ve tried to include events that happened in all three kingdoms under the crown of Charles Stuart. How did one man get to be king of three different kingdoms? That’s a great question! Charles I (Stuart/Stewart dynasty) took the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1625 on the death of his father, James I. James ascended the throne of England in 1603, on the death of Elizabeth I (Tudor dynasty).
So that’s how Charles got to the throne of England – but what about Scotland and Ireland?
Scotland had been in the family, so to speak, for several centuries. Charles was one in a line of many Stewart monarchs in Scotland, ever since 1371 when Robert II took the throne after the death of David II, the last of the Bruce kings. There were a lot of Jameses after that – right up until James VI, or James I as he was called in England (yes, that’s Charles’ father).
Why is it Stewart in some places and Stuart in others? Are they different families?
Nope! Usually historians of England will call the family “Stuart” and historians of Scotland will call them “Stewart.” It’s the same family – but when Mary, Queen of Scots grew up, she called herself Mary Stuart, as that was how it was spelled in France (she was both Queen of Scots by birth and Queen of France for a little while by marriage).
Even though I am a historian of England (mostly), I like to refer to the family as Stewart before James VI/I ascends the throne of England and Stuart afterward.
Okay – that explains England and Scotland, what about Ireland?
Ireland’s a bit more tricky. It comes into Stuart hands after James VI takes the throne of England after Elizabeth’s death in 1603. England had been claiming Ireland for a long time and had been sending English noblemen to take over the Emerald Isle for centuries. This goes all the way back to the Norman Conquest of Ireland in 1169, when Henry II, great-grandson of William the Conqueror went over and forced nobles and kings to pay him fealty. Ever since, England had been trying to force Ireland under their thumb through means of marriages, plantations, or military interventions. Religion will be a constant sticking point after the beginning of the Protestant Reformations in 1517. There will be a post about that.
I also included some of the more formative events in Ireland that took place under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. I think in a future post I want to make a timeline of “Irish Rebellions” or “Relations between Ireland and England,” as it’s important for setting the groundwork of how both kingdoms interacted with one another in the leadup to the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
Next week – I’ll have some short biographies of some of the major players in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (Thomas Wentworth, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Fairfax, Henrietta Maria and hopefully more!).