220px-James_Scott,_Duke_of_Monmouth_and_Buccleuch_by_William_WissingOn July 15, 1685, Monmouth’s Rebellion ended when James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and illegitimate son of Charles II, was executed in London for attempting to depose his uncle, James II, and seize the throne for himself.

Monmouth was Charles’s eldest child and was born in Rotterdam in April 1649 while Charles was exiled during the Protectorate. He was handed over to William Crofts, 1st Baron Crofts, who raised him as his nephew. After Charles was restored to the throne, 14-year-old James was created Duke of Monmouth, Earl of Doncaster, and Baron Scott of Tynesdale and married to Anne Scott, a wealthy heiress. They were named Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch the day after the wedding.

He served in the English fleet and also commanded a troop of cavalry during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. He was named colonel of the King’s Life Guards in 1669, when he was only 20 years old and further honed his military skills during the Third Anglo-Dutch war in 1672.

Monmouth was obliged to go into exile when a plot to assassinate Charles and his brother James was uncovered in 1683. Two years later, after Charles’s death, Monmouth decided he wanted to be king, and he landed at Lyme Regis in Dorset with three ships. He was crowned in Chard, Taunton, and Bridgewater before King James’s army met up with him at Sedgemoor. Monmouth’s makeshift army was destroyed, and he was soon captured and arrested. He was executed on Tower Hill, and apparently the execution didn’t go so well. It took at least five (possibly as many as eight) blows to sever his head. Although he’d gotten rid of one threat, as we now know, James II’s reign wouldn’t end much better than Monmouth’s life.

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