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Glorious Revolution information


Glorious Revolution
Part of the Nine Years' War
William of Orange III and his Dutch army land in Brixham, 1688.jpg
The Prince of Orange landing at Torbay,
by Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht
Date1688–1689
LocationBritish Isles
ParticipantsBritish and Dutch forces
Outcome
  • Replacement of James II by William III of England and Mary II of England
  • Jacobite rising of 1689
  • Williamite War in Ireland
  • Nine Years' War with France; England and Scotland join Grand Alliance
  • Drafting of the Bill of Rights 1689

Glorious Revolution,[a] is the term used for the events leading to the deposition of James II and VII in November 1688, and replacement by his daughter Mary II and her husband and James' nephew William III of Orange, de facto ruler of the Dutch Republic. First used by John Hampden in late 1689,[1] and also known as the Glorieuze Overtocht or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, debate continues as to whether it is best described as an invasion or an internal coup.[2][3]

Despite his personal Catholicism, a religion opposed by the Protestant majority in England and Scotland, James became king in February 1685 with widespread support in both countries, since many feared that his exclusion would lead to a repetition of the 1639–1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms.[4] It was also considered a short-term issue, since James was 52, his second marriage remained childless after 11 years, and the heir presumptive was his Protestant elder daughter Mary. Over the next three years, he alienated his supporters by suspending the Scottish and English parliaments in 1685 and ruling by personal decree.[5]

However, these concerns were insufficient to spark a revolution, until two events in June 1688 turned dissent into a political crisis. The first on 10 June was the birth of a male heir James Francis Edward, which displaced Mary and for the first time created the prospect of a Catholic dynasty. The second was the decision to prosecute Seven Bishops for seditious libel, which many saw as the culmination of a series of attacks on the Church of England. Their acquittal on 30 June sparked anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland and destroyed James's political authority, since his continued presence appeared a greater threat to stability than his removal. A broad coalition of English politicians, soldiers and religious leaders now invited William to intervene militarily and "protect the Protestant religion".

With Louis XIV of France preparing to attack the Dutch, William viewed this as an opportunity to secure English resources for the Nine Years' War, which began in September 1688. On 5 November, he landed in Brixham in Torbay with 14,000 men and as he advanced on London, most of the 30,000-strong Royal Army defected to join him. James went into exile on 23 December and in April 1689, Parliament made William and Mary joint monarchs of England and Ireland. A separate but similar Scottish settlement was made in June.

While the Revolution itself was quick and relatively bloodless, pro-Stuart revolts in Scotland and Ireland caused significant casualties.[6] Although Jacobitism persisted into the late 18th century, the Revolution ended a century of political dispute by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown, a principle established in the Bill of Rights 1689.[7] The Toleration Act 1688 granted freedom of worship to nonconformist Protestants, but restrictions on Catholics contained in the 1678 and 1681 English and Scottish Test Acts remained in force until 1828. Religious prohibitions on the monarch's choice of spouse were removed in 2015, but those applying to the monarch themselves remain.


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  1. ^ Schwoerer 2004, p. 3.
  2. ^ Black 2016, p. 143.
  3. ^ Historical Notes: Glorious revolution or Orange invasion?, published 25 May 1999, accessed on 25 February 2021.
  4. ^ Harris 2006, p. 144.
  5. ^ Harris & Taylor 2015, p. 147.
  6. ^ Pincus 2009, pp. 441–442.
  7. ^ Quinn.

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