The 17th century is unique in British history. Not only was there war for control of the government, but over the very nature of the constitution. Though it was not until the late 1630s that armed conflict broke out, the seeds of war were sown very much earlier. The causes of the civil wars, which began in Scotland in 1638 and encompassed the three kingdoms from 1642 to 1648, the experiment with republican government from 1649 to 1660 and the second revolution of 1688-89, were both long and short term, structural and personal. The 17th century is the period in which the constitutional system, which had developed haphazardly over the centuries, was tested to destruction. However, it was not superseded in its entirety, but modified to a relatively limited extent, then allowed to continue its development by the traditional processes of evolution.