Ireland History

Ireland History

Early to late antiquity

There are traces of settlement from the Stone Age (megalithic culture) on Irish soil. From the 6th century BC. a Celtic people immigrated from Great Britain and subjugated the indigenous people. As the only European country, the island was never ruled by the Romans, who from the 1st century BC. tried to conquer Britain but left Ireland unmolested. Until the 5th century AD, when the country was Christianized, kings as leaders of tribal associations and a strong priesthood, the druids, held power on the island. The most powerful kingships were Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Meath.

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AD 432 Christianization of the island began by the later national saint of today’s Ireland, St. Patrick. The Christianization process only took about two decades. The druids were robbed of their power, which was taken over by members of the Christian clergy and nobility. Over the following centuries, many large abbeys were built in Ireland and numerous monks left the island to do missionary work on mainland Europe.

Middle ages

At the beginning of the 9th century, the Vikings from Scandinavia invaded the island and destroyed and plundered numerous monasteries. In 841 they founded the city of Dublin on the east coast. Under the Celtic King Brian Boru of Munster, several smaller Celtic kingdoms merged and prevented the Vikings from spreading (Battle of Clontarf 1014).

In the mid-12th century, the English king Henry II landed with his troops in Ireland and conquered Dublin and other parts of the country. He forced the Irish nobility in the east of the country to recognize English rule. The sphere of influence of England in Ireland was expanded from the 13th century onwards, Irish nobles had to give up their land and their power in favor of the English nobility. The Kilkenny Statute (1366) prohibited the use of the Irish language, as did marriage between Irish and English.

Modern times

In 1541, King Henry VIII of England adopted the title King of Ireland. According to AbbreviationFinder, the Church of England he founded (Anglican Church, Henry VIII had dissolved the English Church of Rome in 1534) met with little favor among the Irish population. The struggle against Irish Catholicism led to an uprising in Northern Ireland led by the Earl of Kildare in 1539, which was to the disadvantage of the Irish. The result was the execution of insurgents and extensive expropriation of the Irish nobility in favor of the English. English Presbyterians were then targeted, particularly in Northern Ireland, thereby laying the foundation for the ongoing Northern Ireland conflict.

In the 17th century there were numerous Irish uprisings based on this conflict (eg 1641 to 51) and all were suppressed by England (partly under the regime of Oliver Cromwell). The support of the Irish by the Pope and the Spanish King Philip II could not change that.

In 1801, Ireland was incorporated into the newly created “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” by the so-called Union Act or became an English colony. In 1829, equality between Catholics and Protestants was achieved, so that the seats of parliament in Ireland, which had been granted to Ireland since 1800, were first occupied by Catholics.

In the mid-19th century, Ireland experienced a dramatic famine due to a rapidly growing population and poor harvests (due to the potato fever). An estimated 850,000 people died of malnutrition. A large wave of emigration, especially to America, was the result (today the proportion of Irish-born people in North America is estimated at around 16 million people). While the Industrial Revolution started in England, large areas of land in largely agricultural Ireland were unused and were no longer cultivated. Recurring uprisings meant that the rights of large English landowners in Ireland were restricted at the end of the 19th century and Irish tenants were granted land ownership as free farmers. Around the same time, political movements emerged, who campaigned for Irish independence: in 1870 the Home Rule League was founded, in 1899 the patriotic Sinn F¨¦in movement (“We ourselves”) emerged, which, in addition to the country’s independence, emphasized the Celtic roots and the Gaelic language. There were also advocates of Irish independence among the British liberals (if there was still a constitutional link to Great Britain).

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20th and 21st centuries

In 1916 there was the Dublin Easter Uprising, during which the insurgents proclaimed the Irish Republic. After a week, the uprising was bloodily suppressed by English troops. The Irish patriotic Sinn F¨¦in movement won a clear victory in parliamentary elections in Ireland in 1918. Two years later, clashes between Irish nationalists (supporters of Sinn F¨¦in and the IRA founded in 1919 under the leadership of Michael Collins) and the British army (Royal Irish Constabulary and Black and Tans) reached the size of an underground war (Anglo-Irish war). In 1922, Great Britain recognized the independence of Ireland under the sovereignty of the English crown, with the largely Protestant northern Irish province of Ulster remaining with Great Britain.This division of the island led to violent clashes between the provisional Irish government and radical nationalists who belonged to the extreme wing of the Sinn F¨¦in. In 1932 the radical party Fianna F¨¢il (FF) under Eamon de Valera won the elections in Ireland.As head of government, he dissolved the connection to Great Britain under constitutional law. In 1937 the independent state “Éire” was proclaimed, according to the constitution, a parliamentary-democratic republic. After the end of World War II, when Ireland was neutral, Britain recognized the country’s independence. In 1949 Ireland left the Commonwealth. 1955 accession to the UN, 1973 to the European Community. according to the constitution a parliamentary-democratic republic. After the end of World War II, when Ireland was neutral, Britain recognized the country’s independence. Ireland left the Commonwealth in 1949. 1955 accession to the UN, 1973 to the European Community.according to the constitution a parliamentary-democratic republic. After the end of World War II, when Ireland was neutral, Britain recognized the country’s independence. Ireland left the Commonwealth in 1949. 1955 accession to the UN, 1973 to the European Community.

Since then, Ireland has transformed from an essentially agricultural society to the “Celtic Tiger”, a modern, technically sophisticated economy, which has been supported by tax incentives for foreign investors and EU funding. The subprime crisis (real estate crisis) in the USA and the sudden illiquidity of the rapidly growing market with asset-backed securities triggered a worldwide financial and confidence crisis in 2007/2008 that did not stop at Ireland. The badly hit Irish banking system became a risk factor for euro area stability in 2010. In November 2010, Ireland received a support package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund, which includes a government finance consolidation program.Thanks to a continued austerity policy, the country successfully returned to the capital market in early 2013.

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