When Cromwell left Ireland in spring 1650, only Scotland remained independent. Fellow Presbyterians, they were presumed allies, whose Covenanter army had captured the Royalist hero Montrose at Carbisdale (1650). Their unexpected declaration for Charles II confounded but did not faze Cromwell; he promptly marched north and routed the Covenanters at Dunbar, sacking Dundee and Aberdeen. The impulsive Charles II ordered his remaining forces south in a dash for London while Cromwell was occupied in the Highlands. Again unfazed, Cromwell pursued Charles, and in a brilliant battle of manoeuvre, destroyed his army at Worcester. Now unchallenged, Cromwell organized the confiscation of former rebel territory in Ireland, and swiftly quashed the Royalist ‘Sealed Knot’ rebellion headed by Colonel Penruddock (1655). Then, suddenly he died; his son succeeded him but swiftly resigned. In the ensuing power vacuum, the ‘inscrutable’ Parliamentary General Monck marched from Scotland to London – and invited Charles to return as king (1660).
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