(and largest city)
|Ethnic groups||99.15% White (91.0% Northern Ireland born, 8.15% other white), 0.41% Asian, 0.10% Irish Traveller, 0.34% others.|
|-||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom||David Cameron MP|
|-||First Minister||Peter Robinson MLA|
|-||deputy First Minister||Martin McGuinness MLA MP|
|-||Secretary of State||Owen Paterson MP|
|-||Government of Ireland Act||3 May 1921|
5,345 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2002 estimate|
|Currency||Pound sterling (
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
|-||Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|Drives on the||left|
|1||Officially recognised languages: Northern Ireland has no official language. The use of English has been established through precedent. Irish and Ulster Scots are officially recognised minority languages|
|2||.ie, in common with the Republic of Ireland, and also .eu, as part of the European Union. ISO 3166-1 is GB, but .gb is unused|
|3||+44 is always followed by 28 when calling landlines. The code is 028 within the UK and 048 from the Republic of Ireland|
Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann, Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann) is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west. At the time of the 2001 UK Census, its population was 1,685,000, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the population of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland consists of six of the nine counties of the Irish province of Ulster. It was created as a distinct division of the United Kingdom on 3 May 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, though its constitutional roots lie in the 1800 Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. For over 50 years it had its own devolved government and parliament. These institutions were suspended in 1972 and abolished in 1973. Repeated attempts to restore self-government finally resulted in the establishment of the present-day Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly operates on consociational democracy principles requiring cross-community support.
Northern Ireland was for many years the site of a violent and bitter ethno-political conflict — the Troubles — which was caused by divisions between nationalists, who are predominantly Roman Catholic, and unionists, who are predominantly Protestant. Unionists want Northern Ireland to remain as a part of the United Kingdom, while nationalists wish for it to be politically reunited with the rest of Ireland, independent of British rule. Since the signing of the "Good Friday Agreement" in 1998, most of the paramilitary groups involved in the Troubles have ceased their armed campaigns.
Due to its unique history, the issue of the symbolism, name and description of Northern Ireland is complex, and similarly the issue of citizenship and identity. In general, Unionists consider themselves British and Nationalists see themselves as Irish, though these identities are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
The region that is now Northern Ireland served as the bedrock of Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century. The English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king, Henry VII, in 1542 but Irish resistance made English rule in Ireland impossible. The programmes of colonialism were intended as a means to extend English rule in Ireland. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic (and Roman Catholic) aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English (mainly Anglican) and Scottish (mainly Presbyterian) settlers. In the century between 1610 and 1717 perhaps as many as 100,000 Lowlanders came across from Scotland, and by the latter date there were some five Scots to every three Irishmen and one Englishman in Ulster. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule descended into a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of an out-breaking a war between England, Scotland and Ireland fueled by religious intolerance in government. Victories by English forces in that war and further a Protestant victory in a another war on similar themes at the close of the 16th century, solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the iconic victories of the Siege of Derry (1698) and the Battle of the Boyne (1690) in this latter war are still celebrated by the Unionist community (both Anglican and Presbyterian) today.
Following the victory of 1691, a series of laws intended to politically and materially deprive mainly the Catholic community, but also the Presbyterian community, of power were implemented by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland. In the context of open institutional discrimination, the18th century saw secret, militant societies develop in communities in the region and act out on sectarian tensions in violent attacks. These events escalated at the end of the century following an events know as the Battle of the Diamond, which saw the supremacy of the Anglican and Presbyterian Peep o'Day Boys over the Catholic Defenders and leading to the formation of the (Anglican) Orange Order. A rebellion in 1798 led by the cross-community Belfast-based Society of the United Irishmen and inspired by the French Revolution sought to break the constitutional ties between Ireland with Britain and unite Irishmen and women of all communities. Following this, in an attempt to quell sectarianism and force the removal of discriminatory laws (and to prevent the spread of French-style republicanism to Ireland), the government of the Kingdom of Britain push for the two kingdoms to be merged. The new state, formed in 1801, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, was governed from a single government and parliament based in London.
Between 1717 and 1775 some 250,000 people from Ulster emigrated to the American colonies. It is estimated that there are more than 27 million descendants of the Scots-Irish migration now living in the U.S.
Following this, those who supported the continued union between Ireland and Great Britain are known as unionists. In what is now Northern Ireland, these were mainly Protestant (both Anglican and Presbyterian). During the 19th century, legal reforms started in the late 18th century removed legal discrimination against Catholics and progressive programmes enabled farmers to buy back land from landlords. By the close of the century, the possibility of autonomy for Ireland within the United Kingdom, known as home rule, was imminent. In 1912, it became a certainty. A clash between the House of Commons and House of Lords over a controversial budget produced the Parliament Act 1911, which enabled the veto of the Lords to be overturned. The House of Lords veto had been unionists' main guarantee that home rule would not be enacted because the majority members of the House of Lords were unionist. In response, opponents to home rule, from Conservative Party leaders like Andrew Bonar Law and Dublin-based barrister Sir Edward Carson to militant unionists in Ireland, threatened the use of violence. In 1914, they smuggled thousands of rifles and rounds of ammunition from Imperial Germany for the use by the Ulster Volunteers, a paramilitary organisation opposed to the implementation of home rule.
Unionists were in a minority on the island of Ireland as a whole, but were a majority in the northern province of Ulster and a very large majority in County Antrim and County Down, with small majorities in the County Armagh and County Londonderry. There were substantial numbers also concentrated in County Fermanagh and County Tyrone. These six counties would later constitute Northern Ireland.
of Northern Ireland
|Lord Craigavon (1922–1940)|
|John Miller Andrews (1940–1943)|
|Lord Brookeborough (1943–1963)|
|Captain Terence O'Neill (1963–1969)|
|James Chichester-Clark (1969–1971)|
|Brian Faulkner (1971–1972)|
In 1914, the Third Home Rule Act, which contained provision for a "temporary" partition of these six counties from the rest of Ireland, received the Royal Assent. However, its implementation was suspended before it came into effect owing to the outbreak of the First World War. The war was expected to last only a few weeks but in fact lasted four years. By the end of the war, the act was seen as unimplementable. Public opinion in the majority "nationalist" community (who sought for greater independence from Britain) had shifted during the war from a demand for home rule to full independence. In 1919, David Lloyd George proposed a new bill which would divide Ireland into two home rule areas: twenty-six counties being ruled from Dublin and six being ruled from Belfast. Straddling between these two areas, would be a shared Lord Lieutenant of Ireland who would appoint both governments and a Council of Ireland, which Lloyd George believed would evolve into an all-Ireland parliament. Events had however over taken government. In the general election of 1918, the pro-independence Sinn Féin won seventy-three of the one hundred and five parliamentary seats in Ireland and established an extrajudicial parliament in Ireland.
Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland in 1921 under the terms of Lloyd George's Government of Ireland Act 1920 during the war of independence between Ireland and Britain. At the conclusion of that war on 6 December 1922, under the terms of the resulting treaty, Northern Ireland provisionally became an autonomous part of the newly independent Irish Free State.