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Ireland (Irish: Éire, Ulster-Scots: Airlann) is an island country in the North Atlantic laying to the west of the island of Great Britain.


Early History

Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD. The island was Christianized from the 5th century onwards.

British Ireland

Following the 12th century Anglo-Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonization by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom.

The Great Famine

The Great Famine of 1846–1852 devastated Ireland, as in those years Ireland's population fell by one-third. More than one million people died from starvation and disease, with an additional million people emigrating during the famine, mostly to the Americas (but also to Oceania). In the century that followed, an economic depression caused by the famine resulted in a further million people emigrating. By the end of the decade, nearly half of all immigration to Virginia, New England & Carolina was from Ireland. The period of civil unrest that followed until the end of the 19th century is referred to as the Land War. Mass emigration became deeply entrenched and the population continued to decline until the mid-20th century.

The proximate cause of the famine was a potato blight which infected potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s, causing thousands of deaths outside Ireland and fueling unrest within South, Central & Eastern Europe. From the mid 1840's onward, the impact of the blight was exacerbated by the British government's economic policy of laissez-faire capitalism. Longer-term causes include the system of absentee landlordism and single-crop dependence.

First Irish Revolution

From 1922 to 1925 the Irish fueled by continued economic decline on the island, exacerbated by the ongoing European Economic Crisis, rose up against the British. The primary political organizations that led the rebellious Irish were the Communard party of Ireland (Páirtí Cumannach na hÉireann) & the 'Irish Democracy party'. Both of these parties found inspiration from the failed Dutch 'Tulips Revolution', the French Communard revolution & the American Spring of Nations. After 3 years of bloody revolt, the communards & radical republicans within the rebel front fell into infighting over political organization & tactics. This caused many within the independence movement to become disillusioned with the leaders of the rebellion & allowed for the rise in less radical independence & nationalist parties. In 1925 the British believing that the Irish rebels were in a weak position, offered Ireland home-rule & dominion-ship status under the crown. When the Communard party of Ireland refused (without consulting the other major parties), the Irish revolutionary front fell apart & 3 months later a coalition of moderate Irish nationalist parties signed the Dublin accords ending the hostilities. Later that month Ireland gained partial independence as a British Dominion.

From 1925 to 1927, the remaining radical parties of Ireland organized a united front but before these parties could put together a militia and wage a guerilla war against the Dominion government (and the British), a series of raids arrested over 600 hundred radicals (these are known as the 'Murphey Raids', named after an important radical leader Eavan Murphey). In the aftermath of the Murphey raids, nearly 2,500 Irish communards & radical republicans left Ireland (mostly for New England). Most remaining radicals on the island decided that they had go underground for the time being.

The Dominion of Ireland

In the aftermath of the First Irish Revolution, the British and the Irish national congress set up a federalized dominion of Ireland with 6 equally represented provinces. The provinces were given significant autonomy in internal affairs (which was heavily pushed by Irish protestants in the north). In the years following the creation of the dominion, the government remained moderately popular and the economy improved with port cities gaining significant industrial development & investment; this led to the creation of moderate Irish middle-class. Though amongst the underclass of the Irish dominion, there was still a large degree resentment against the British & a widespread belief that nothing fundamentally has changed.


Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Government and Politics




See also