100 Years of History: 17th Century

If you thought the 16th century and the tumultuous times of the Tudors were dramatic, have we got news for you. We've now come now to the 17th century in our trip through a thousand years of history.

shakey

PAY ATTENTION CLASS

It was a time of great scientific advancement, epidemic disease and of bloody civil war. It was most notable, because it is the only century in the last millennium during which there was a period when England had no ruling monarchy and became a republic. So sit back and enjoy the many dramas that unfolded in this, arguably our most turbulent period in history to date.

KINGS AND QUEENS OF ENGLAND: THE STUARTS

The story of the Stuarts is a truly surprising and fascinating tale, beginning in 1603 with the tobacco-hating James becoming the first monarch to fly the Union Jack. In the century or so that followed, a showdown between the crown and the puritans resulted in: Charles I losing his head and his dissolute and popular son reclaiming the crown; plague and fire wreaking havoc on London; and James II letting the bloodthirsty Judge Jeffries loose on the Monmouth rebellion before he himself was sent packing by William of Orange. The dynasty was brought to a close with Queen Anne, a woman who had 17 pregnancies but was unable to continue the bloodline before her death in 1714.

MILLENNIUM: CENTURY OF THE TELESCOPE

During the 17th century, science became a new route to power and exploration sent Europeans around the world. Isaac Newton was working during the 17th century, undertaking now legendary experiments on nature in order to reveal God. Plus, the seeds of the Empire were firmly planted in foreign soil as colonies were established along America's Atlantic coast.

A HISTORY OF BRITAIN: THE BRITISH WARS

A particular highlight this week is Simon Schama's unique and dynamic look at the English Civil War. He looks beyond the romanticised visions of a nation divided by religion and politics and the tales of Cavaliers and Roundheads. Hundreds of thousands of people died, countless families were torn apart and the nation was cleaved in two. In addition, two events unique within British history resulted: the public execution of the monarch, Charles I, and the creation of a republic.

A HISTORY OF BRITAIN: REVOLUTION

Simon Schama takes a closer look at the turbulent period from 1649 to 1689, from Oliver Cromwell's republic to Charles II's restoration and James II's subsequent pro-Catholic rule. This is the dramatic story of the revolutionary period after the execution of Charles I, when Cromwell governed with an iron hand and Charles II attempted to restore the lustre of the monarchy.

FLAMES OF WAR: TIMEWATCH

In a gripping series of dramatic recreations, the horrors of the English Civil War are told in a vivid episode of Timewatch, using the letters, diaries and memoirs of ordinary people who lived in 17th Century England. Some of the characters are played by their descendants, while others are played by their modern counterparts: a soldier, a lawyer and a political activist.

WHAT IF?: THE CIVIL WAR

In 1645, Charles I was defeated at the Battle of Naseby. But what if he had not sent General Goring and his 3,000 cavalry south? The result of Naseby may have been very different, and could have turned the tide of the English Civil War in Charles's favour. This imaginative programmes attempts to divine what would have happened if Charles had reclaimed power instead of losing it all.