Today is the 100th year of the 1916 Easter Uprising so I decided to write a post about the political history of Ireland to preface the travel post on Ireland.
In the sixteenth century, Ireland was conquered by the English and remained under the it’s rule into the twentieth century. Ireland was made up of a largely Catholic population, while the English and Scottish that came to Ireland were Protestant. This segregation has strengthened the ties between religion and national identity.
Throughout the history of English rule over Ireland, there have been uprising and revolutions. However, the most significant uprising was the Easter Uprising on Monday, April 24 when the Irish declared ownership over Ireland and an end to British rule. Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army were the leading forces in the movement. The uprising lasted until the 29th and the Irish were forced to surrender. During this time over 3,000 people were injured, including 500 of whom were killed.
Following the Uprising, the leaders of the Irish Freedom Movement were executed by the British. This played a turning point as the Irish felt sympathy for the rebel cause and wanted to continue the fight. The Irish gained more political power and between 1919 and 1921 the Irish Republican army engaged in warfare for independence. A treaty was signed in 1922 declaring the Irish Free State with 26 counties in West and South Ireland, while Northern Ireland kept its 6 counties in the United Kingdom under Home Rule. Northern Ireland contained a much more significant Protestant population and the area experienced unrest in the future in a time known as the Troubles.