Protestants Vs Catholics Essay

1833 words - 7 pages

The Irish-British Conflict Throughout history there has been an ongoing saga of war, prejudice, and hatred between Ireland and Great Britain. Lately they have been going back and forth over the control and ownership of Northern Ireland. But within the last decade, after forty years of intense fighting, there have been the greatest strides toward peace on both sides of the fighting.The relationship between Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Great Britain has always been a volatile one, marred with shooting, bombings, riots, assassinations, and riots. The basis of the fighting has been over the control and ownership of Northern Ireland. The main split is between religious groups. The Catholics of Northern Ireland want to join the Republic of Ireland and form one independent island of Ireland. The Protestants of Northern Ireland want to remain under direct British rule. (Encyclopedia Britanica Page 290) The roots of conflict go back over four hundred years. When King Henry VIII declared himself King of Ireland, it started centuries of British rule. This came after more than two centuries of increasing British rule and ownership in the country. Later on, during the rule of Elizabeth I, the religious differences widened in Ireland between the Irish Catholic and the British Protestants. Her reign also brought widespread rebellions and violent protests directly related to the religious differences in the region.(WWW.CNN.COM) British oppression only worsened as time went on. Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the British passed laws against the Irish Catholics. Some of these included preventing the Irish from bearing arms, restrict their rights to education, stopping them from buying and holding land, and banning them from serving in the army, holding public office, entering the legal profession, becoming Military Police, or voting.(WWW.CNN.COM) The Irish continued to oppose the British government, but nothing came out of it until 1919. The Irish Republican Army, and their political party counterpart, Sinn Fien, was formed in 1919, dedicated to fight forcibly for complete independence from British rule. The IRA started a guerilla war in 1919 to win independence from Great Britain.Through 1919 and into 1920, the IRA harassed the police and military with ambushes, sudden raids, and assassinations. To satisfy the IRA's demands, the British government passed the Government of Ireland Act. The act split Ireland into two separate states, each with a limited power of self-government. The top six counties of Ireland broke off and formed Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland was satisfied with the treaty because there was still a Protestant majority. However, the tale was quite different in Southern Ireland, where the catholic majority wanted more freedom from Britain and rejected the act. The fighting continued until July of 1921. The British Parliament passed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The treaty, signed on December sixth, 1921, made Ireland a dominion,...

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