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Why did Britain become a republic?

Case study 2: New government - Source 4

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Accounts of public money used in Ireland, with the portrait and symbols of Cromwell and the Commonwealth

(Catalogue ref: SP 63/281)

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SP63/281; account of money used in Ireland, c1653

What is this source?

This is an account from the 1650s setting out what public money had been spent in Ireland and how it was spent.


What's the background to this source?

Through the 1640s Irish Catholics rebelled against English control of their country. As a result, Cromwell led his forces to Ireland and defeated the Irish. Cromwell’s main campaigns in Ireland took place in 1649. English control over Ireland became more secure than it had ever been.


It's worth knowing that...

Cromwell is still a hate figure in Ireland today because of the brutal effectiveness of his campaigns in Ireland. Of course, his victories in Ireland made him a hero in Protestant England.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. This source gives an account of how public money was spent in Ireland. Do you think it might have had other purposes as well? What?
  2. Why do you think the shields were shown down the side of this source?
  3. Why was a portrait of Oliver Cromwell put on this document?
  4. What impression does the images and the text give you of Oliver Cromwell?