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English Restoration

The English Restoration or simply Restoration was an episode in the history of Britain beginning in 1660, when the monarchy was restored under king Charles II after the English Civil War. Theatres reopened after having been closed during the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell, Puritanism lost its momentum, and the bawdy Restoration comedy became a recognisable genre.

The term Restoration may apply both to the actual event by which the British monarchy was restored, and to the period immediately following the accession of Charles II.

The Commonwealth which had preceded the Restoration might have continued a little longer, had Oliver Cromwell's son, Richard Cromwell, shown any inclination to carry on his father's policies - but Britain was not yet ready to be a republic. George Monck, governor of Scotland under the Cromwells, instituted military rule when the younger Cromwell resigned his position in 1659; Monck then began negotiations for Charles to return from exile, an event which took place on May 23, 1660. Later in London, on May 29, he was restored as King.

In the aftermath of his return, Charles took belated vengeance on those responsible for the execution of his father, King Charles I. Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed and hung in chains, and those who had signed the late king's death warrant (the "regicides") were themselves condemned to death. In general, however, Charles gained a reputation as an easy-going, fun-loving king, and represented a complete contrast to the restrictive rule of Cromwell. He enjoyed horse-racing and was a great patron of the arts.