The history of the Northern Ireland conflict goes back to the Middle Ages. By 1200 the Anglo-Normans had conquered much of the Irish island. In doing so, they benefited from the quarrels of the Irish clans and the lack of central Irish power. However, until the 16th century, English rule was limited to the Irish east coast.
Only after the end of the English War of the Roses (1455-1485) did the English take drastic measures to enforce their claims on the Irish island. The actual submission began in 1534 when HEINRICH VIII deposed the COUNT OF KILDARE as deputy and in 1541 had the Irish Parliament confer the title of King of Ireland on him.
HEINRICH’s attempt to anchor the Reformation in Ireland failed due to the resistance of the Catholic population. In order to break this resistance, the first English Protestants were resettled to Ulster in 1609, where they took possession of the lands of Catholic Irish. The settlement of the Protestants in Ulster had a significant influence on the further development of Northern Ireland and the disputes with the Catholic population that continue to this day.
After WILHELM VON ORANIEN won the Battle of Boyne in 1690, drastic criminal laws, the Penal Laws, were introduced. They banned Catholics from attending school and excluded them from public office in parliament. In 1795 the Orange Society was founded, which stood out in the fight against the Irish national movement. Even today, the Orange Order organizes parades through Northern Ireland every year on July 12th, which are perceived by the Catholic population as a provocation.
The struggle for Irish independence
Ireland lost its independence in 1800/01. The Irish Parliament was dissolved and Ireland was represented by a small number of Protestant MPs in the House of Commons. The Irish independence movement grew stronger towards the end of the 19th century . Since 1858 Irish nationalists who had come together in the secret society of the Fenians pursued the detachment from Great Britain. The Irish National Party, founded in 1877 under CHARLES STEWART PARNELL, was more influential than the Fenians. She represented Ireland’s interests in London’s House of Commons and sat for parliamentary self-government of the Irish, the Home Rule , a.
But it was not until 1912 that the British House of Commons adopted the Homerule Act, which was suspended during the First World War. The Irish National Party was replaced by the more radical Sinn Féin (We Ourselves) party led by EAMON DE VALERA, who was working towards the complete independence of Ireland. In 1916 there was the Easter Rising, a bloody uprising, in the course of which the Irish Citizen’s Army occupied the main post office in Dublin and declared it the temporary seat of Irish government. Although the uprising was suppressed, the Sinn Féin helped ittoo popular among the Irish people. The party won the 1918 election; but the elected parliamentarians refused to exercise their mandates in the London Parliament and founded the first Dail Eireann (People’s Assembly of Ireland). DE VALERA, who was arrested, was elected President.
The Irish War of Independence and Ulster Counties
Since the British government did not recognize Ireland’s independence, the War of Independence broke out in 1919 between the British troops stationed in Ireland and the Irish Republican Army, IRA . The increasing brutality of the war led the British Prime Minister LLOYD GEORGE to offer the political partition of Ireland in the Government of Ireland Act. Northern Ireland – consisting of the six Ulster counties with their Protestant majority – continued to belong to Great Britain, while the rest of the island became part of the Irish Free State in December 1921 was declared. After the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed, the Irish national movement split into supporters (Fine Gael) and opponents (Fianna Fáil) of the treaty. A small radical part organized itself – in close connection with the IRA – in Northern Ireland under the name Sinn Féin.
Northern Ireland hotspot
The Irish Free State remained a British dominion until 1937 . Then Ireland constituted itself as a republic and withdrew from the Commonwealth. Due to the continued affiliation to Great Britain, Northern Ireland developed into a trouble spot.
The Catholic minority made up a third of the Northern Irish population, but was disadvantaged by various measures in terms of political participation. These measures included:
- the gerrymandering – the boundaries of the electoral districts were manipulated so that each electoral district had a Protestant majority.
- the property qualifications or the disfranchisement – the number of votes was based on the acquis of the citizens. People without real estate lost their voting rights.