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Bishops' Wars

Bishops' Wars, two brief campaigns (1639 and 1640) of the Scots against Charles I of England. When Charles attempted to strengthen episcopacy in Scotland by imposing (1637) the English Book of Common Prayer, the Scots countered by pledging themselves in the National Covenant (1638) to restore Presbyterianism. A general assembly of the Scottish church abolished episcopacy. The first war was ended without fighting by the Pacification of Berwick, in which Charles conceded the Scottish right to a free church assembly and a free parliament. However, the assembly that met promptly reaffirmed the covenant. In spite of the refusal of his Short Parliament to vote him money, Charles managed to raise another army, but it was unable to stop the Scots from invading England and occupying Northumberland and Durham. Charles made peace at Ripon (Oct., 1640), and his promise there to pay an indemnity to the Scots necessitated his calling the Long Parliament. See English civil war.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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