Definition of Cromwell, Oliver
- (1599–1658), English general and statesman, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth 1653-8. Cromwell was the leader of the victorious Parliamentary forces (or Roundheads) in the English Civil War. As head of state he styled himself Lord Protector, and refused Parliament’s offer of the Crown in 1657. His rule was notable for its puritan reforms in the Church of England. He was briefly succeeded by his son Richard (1626–1712), who was forced into exile in 1659.