The English are a nation in all versions and eras of the game. They are regarded as one of the easiest nations in the game. They generally have well-situated cities, such as Port Royale, Barbados, and Nevis. They are often at war with the Spanish, and many times with the French. By attacking Spanish ships, one can easily earn promotions. They have relatively good starting ships throughout all eras.
The rise of England as a global naval power began with the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, during the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1607, Jamestown in Virginia was established as the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
Between 1640 and 1660, England had a moved history. A civil war broke out between Parliamentarians and King Charles I. over financial and religious policies and questions over the rights of the Parliament. The Parliament won the civil war and King Charles was tried for high treason and beheaded in the year 1649. The monarchy was subsequently abolished and the "Commonwealth of England" was proclaimed.
Soon, Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the Parliamentarian army, would rule the country as "Lord Protector", basically as a dictator. During his rule he implemented rules and laws that reflected his Puritan (Reformed Protestants who sought to "purify" the English Church from Catholic remainders, believing that the Reformation in England was stuck halfway and had to be pushed further on) beliefs.
After his death in 1658, his son Richard became Lord Protector, but he had to step down and the monarchy was restored in 1660.
During the next two centuries, England (or Great Britain, as it would be called after the unification with Scotland in 1707), would become the mightiest great power on the globe, extending their rule over large parts of North America, Africa and Asia.