Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector on December 16, 1653. This was England's only experiment with a republic and a military dictatorship (the two are not necessarily the same). It was not altogether a success though I have always liked Cromwell for two reasons: the well-spoken way in which he got rid of that pesky Rump Parliament in April 1653 ("You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!") and for abolishing Christmas celebrations. That might not be entirely accurate but I think of the Lord Protector with gritted teeth as I fight my way through crowds with large shopping bags, avoid horrible decorations and try to block out tinny versions of whichever Christmas song has taken the version of the shop I have to enter or, at least, pass.