These copper coins were struck in London from 1672 to 1679, under the reign of Charles II of England, Scotland, and Ireland. They were worth one farthing, which was 1/4 of a penny in the British pre-decimal pound sterling system.
Charles II is perhaps best known for his role in the wake of the English Civil War (1642 - 1651). He inherited a fragmented Britain from his father, Charles I, after he was executed in 1649 by parliamentarian forces led by Oliver Cromwell. Initially only proclaimed King of Scotland, Charles II's army was routed by English forces under Cromwell and the king was forced into exile in mainland Europe (first to France, then to the Netherlands).
With the British monarchy abolished, Cromwell proceeded to take the title of Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. A controversial figure, Oliver Cromwell has been viewed both as a bringer of liberty who freed Britain from royal control and a dictator himself. The power vacuum after Cromwell died in 1658 eventually resulted in the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy, and Charles II was invited back to rule once more—this time over England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Charles lived a famously hedonistic life, to the point that he earned the nickname The Merry Monarch. Though he fathered at least 12 illegitimate children with various mistresses, he left no legitimate heirs and was succeeded by his brother, James II.
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