Northern Ireland Peace Agreement

(1998)

Context

Animosity between the Irish and British runs deep and can be traced to significant historical events. By 1171 English barons had seized Irish territory around Dublin, and by the fourteenth century all of Ireland was under British control. As the English aristocracy became assimilated into society, actual English control became limited to an area surrounding Dublin. The power shifted again in 1541 when Henry VIII forced the Irish to declare him king of Ireland and introduced new laws as well as the Anglican Church to the predominantly Roman Catholic country. In the early seventeenth century, James I encouraged Protestant settlement in Ulster in Ireland's north to quell revolt against British rule. In 1649 an army led by Oliver Cromwell massacred a large number of Catholics at Drogheda in eastern Ireland, to avenge a massacre of Protestants in Ulster in 1641.

On July 11, 1690, William III, also known as William of Orange, defeated forces led by the deposed Catholic...

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King William III leading his troops at the Battle of the Boyne (Library of Congress)

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