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Why and with what degree of success did Cromwell attempt to expand English interests in Ireland and the West Indies?

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Introduction

Why, and with what degree of success, did Cromwell attempt to expand English interests in Ireland the West Indies? Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland between the years 1653, until his death in 1658. A key theme of Oliver Cromwell's reign as Lord Protector was his aggressive foreign policy aims and goals. Cromwell attempted to expand English interests in both Ireland and in the West Indies. In 1649 Cromwell as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland led the parliamentarian conquest of Ireland between 1649 and 1651. Cromwell also ordered the naval expedition to the West Indies in late 1654. To truly assess the reasons why Cromwell attempted to expand English interests in both Ireland and in the West Indies it is important to examine the key themes of imperialism and religion, while also bearing in mind other factors such as security concerns and economic reasons. While Cromwell experienced success in Ireland to a large extent, the same cannot be said for the West Indies which has largely been seen as a failure. Firstly it is important to assess the reasons for why Oliver Cromwell attempted to expand English interests in Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

Much of this land confiscated was given to Protestants and also veterans of the New Model Army as a payment for their services. Cromwell also managed to push a large amount of Irish Catholics to the west and into the Connacht region, which was away from Dublin and important ports such as Cork. Although it is fair to say that Cromwell's policies in Ireland left ?anti-Britishness' hostility in Ireland for years to come. Cromwell still to this day remains a deeply controversial figure in Ireland. This is due to the atrocities which took place during the conquest, especially at the Siege of Drogheda in 1649 and the Sack of Wexford 1649, in which many civilians were massacred. Mann states that Cromwell has since been seen as a 'boogey-man' figure in Ireland and fuelled Irish hostility towards English rule.[6] Despite this, overall Cromwell's conquest in Ireland was still a clear success. It is also important to determine the reasons for why Cromwell attempted to expand English interests in the West Indies. In late 1654 Cromwell as Lord Protector ordered a naval expedition to attack Spanish territory in the West Indies. ...read more.

Conclusion

In terms of religion in both Ireland and in the West Indies Cromwell was eager to reduce the Catholic influence of the Spanish and Gaelic Irish. Cromwell also held imperial ambitions, in the West Indies Cromwell was keen to expand the English commonwealth's possession through the Western Design and in Ireland he was eager to continue the plantation progress and to create a 'little England'. Finally economics was also a significant motive; Cromwell wanted to expand the commonwealth's trading network in the West Indies. In terms of success it is clear that Cromwell enjoyed a greater degree of success in Ireland than in the West Indies. In Ireland Cromwell managed to put down the most of the Royalist threat, suppress and punish the Catholic Irish and also increase the plantation process through mass confiscations of Catholic land. However in the West Indies Cromwell failed to decrease the influence of Catholic Spain. Cromwell's Western Design failed and his naval expedition was defeated by the Spanish. Cromwell's main aim to capture Hispaniola failed and instead he was left with only Jamaica. This was a resounding failure and a massive humiliation for Cromwell. Therefore it is clear to see that Cromwell was successful in Ireland to a large extent, however in the West Indies Cromwell largely failed to expand English interests. ...read more.

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