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Glorious Revolution

British revolution of 1688 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Glorious Revolution[lower-alpha 1] is the term, first used in 1689, to summarise events leading to the deposition of James II and VII of England, Ireland, and Scotland in November 1688 and his replacement by his daughter Mary II and her husband, who was also James's nephew William III of Orange, de facto ruler of the Dutch Republic. Known as the Glorieuze Overtocht or Glorious Crossing in the Netherlands, it has been described both as the last successful invasion of England and as an internal coup.[1][2][3]

Quick facts: Date, Location, Outcome...
Glorious Revolution
Part of the Nine Years' War
The Prince of Orange landing at Torbay
as depicted in an illustration by Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht
LocationBritish Isles
OutcomeJames II replaced as king by his daughter Mary II and her husband William III

Despite being Catholic, James became king in February 1685 with widespread support from the Protestant majority in England and Scotland. Many feared his exclusion would cause a repetition of the 16391653 Wars of the Three Kingdoms,[4] while it was viewed as a short-term issue, since the heir presumptive was his Protestant elder daughter Mary. James soon lost popular support by suspending the Parliaments of Scotland and England in 1685, and thereafter ruling by personal decree.[5]

Two events in June 1688 turned dissatisfaction into a political crisis. The first was the birth on 10 June of a male heir, James Francis Edward, displacing Mary and creating the prospect of a Catholic dynasty. The second was the prosecution for seditious libel of seven bishops from the Protestant Church of England. Many saw this as the latest in a series of attacks on the state church; their acquittal on 30 June sparked widespread anti-Catholic riots and destroyed James's political authority. A coalition of English politicians, soldiers and religious leaders issued the Invitation to William, asking him to intervene militarily and "protect the Protestant religion".

William and the Dutch wanted to prevent British military and financial resources being used against them in the Nine Years War, launched by Louis XIV of France in September 1688. Devising one of the largest and riskiest military operations in Dutch military history, William landed in Brixham, Devon with 20,000 men on 5 November, and advanced on London. As he did so, the Royal Army disintegrated, and James went into exile in France on 23 December. 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.

William's accession to the English throne in 1689 also marks a crucial moment in Dutch military history. William, who now had the unprecedented double role as stadholder-king, gained a great deal of political and military power in both the British kingdoms and the Dutch Republic. Thenceforth, instead of fighting each other, English and Dutch military forces would carry out concerted attacks on their enemies in Europe. Although William had to take into account the wishes of parliament and the Dutch States General he would effectively determine the way in which the forces of both countries were deployed. William assigned the supreme command of the combined armies to the Dutch, while the Allied naval forces would be under English command in the future. Although this meant that the Dutch Republic would be overshadowed as a maritime power by its old rival, it gave the Dutch a chance to focus more on the land war with France.[8]