Stuart, Charles II, 1630 - 1685
Charles II was the son of Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France. After his father’s execution in 1649, Charles spent a period of exile in Europe during the Interregnum. He ascended to the throne on May 29, 1660. His overseas interests were world-wide. His marriage to Catherine of Braganza secured to him territories in North Africa and Indian and expanded trading rights to Brazil and the East Indies. The war with the Dutch (1665-1667) gained England the territory of New Amsterdam in America, and in 1670 Charles expanded English corporate interests into Hudson’s Bay drainage. He reauthorized the New England Company, which had been dissolved in 1660. On a diplomatic level, upon restoration, he re-extended the prerogative to Native peoples that were not hostile to the English. Several Indian leaders deeded their land to the Crown in hopes of his royal protection. In 1661 he commissioned medals to be given to Indian leaders (in Virginia) and gave coats to sachems in New England. Charles accepted petitions from many of the colony’s critics, including Quakers, Baptists, and Indians. He later sent royal commissioners to investigate. In 1665, Charles “defined the Native Americans as coequal subjects of the crown, and reminded New Englanders that the biblical category of “children of men” comprehends Indians as well as English.” Pulsipher, Subjects Unto the Same King, 58. Margaret Ellen Newell, “Indian Slavery in Colonial New England,” in Alan Gallay, ed., Indian Slavery in Colonial America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009), 38. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.