Monday, February 17, 2014


The first recorded Viking (The Vikings (from Old Norse víkingr) were seafaring northGermanic people who raided, traded, explored, and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia, and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th centuries. The Vikings employed wooden longships with wide, shallow-draft hulls, allowing navigation in rough seas or in shallow river waters. The ships could be landed on beaches, and their light weight enabled them to be hauled over portages. These versatile ships allowed the Vikings to travel as far east as Constantinople and the Volga River in Russia, as far west as Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland, and as far south as Nekor. This period of Viking expansion, known as theViking Age, constitutes an important element of the medievalhistory of Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, and the rest of Europe) raid in Irish history occurred in 795 when Vikings from Norway looted the island. Early Viking raids were generally fast-paced and small in scale. These early raids interrupted the golden age of Christian Irish culture and marked the beginning of two centuries of intermittent warfare, with waves of Viking raiders plundering monasteries and towns throughout Ireland. Most of those early raiders came from western Norway.
The first English involvement in Ireland took place in this period. In the summer of AD 684 an English expeditionary force sent by Northumbrian King Ecgfrith invaded Ireland. The English forces seized booty and several captives, but they apparently did not stay in Ireland for long. The next English involvement in Ireland occurred some 500 years later, when the Normans invaded in 1169.
The Norman invasion of the late 12th century marked the beginning of more than 700 years of direct English and, later, British involvement in Ireland. In 1177, Prince John Lackland was made Lord of Ireland by his father Henry II of England at the Council of Oxford. The Crown did not attempt to assert full control of the island until after Henry VIII's repudiation of papal authority over the Church in England and subsequent rebellion of the Earl of Kildare in Ireland threatened English hegemony there. Henry proclaimed himself King of Ireland and also tried to introduce theEnglish Reformation, which failed in Ireland. Attempts to either conquer or assimilate the Irish lordships into the Kingdom of Ireland provided the initial impetus for a series of Irish military campaigns between 1534 and 1603. This period was marked by a Crown policy of plantation, involving the arrival of thousands of English and Scottish Protestant settlers, and the consequent displacement of the pre-plantation Catholic landholders. As the military and political defeat of Gaelic Ireland became more pronounced in the early seventeenth century, sectarian conflict became a recurrent theme in Irish history.
The 1613 overthrow of the Catholic majority in the Irish Parliament was realised principally through the creation of numerous new boroughs which were dominated by the new settlers. By the end of the seventeenth century, recusant Roman Catholics, as adherents to the old religion were now termed, representing some 85% of Ireland's population, were then banned from the Irish Parliament. Protestant domination of Ireland was confirmed after two periods of war between Catholics and Protestants in 1641-52 and 1689-91. Political power thereafter rested entirely in the hands of a Protestant Ascendancy minority, while Catholics and members of dissenting Protestant denominations suffered severe political and economic privations at the hands of the Penal Laws. The Irish Parliament was abolished in 1801 in the wake of the republican United Irishmen Rebellion and Ireland became an integral part of a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under the Act of Union. Although promised a repeal of the Test Act, Catholics were not granted full rights until Catholic Emancipation was attained throughout the new UK in 1829. This was followed by the first Reform Act 1832, a principal condition of which was the removal of the poorer British and Irish freeholders from the franchise.
The Irish Parliamentary Party strove from the 1880s to attain Home Rule through the parliamentary constitutional movement, eventually winning the Home Rule Act 1914, though this Act was suspended at the outbreak of World War I. The Easter Rising staged by Irish republicans two years later brought physical force republicanism back to the forefront of Irish politics.
In 1922, after the Irish War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the larger part of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom to become the independent Irish Free State; and after the 1937 constitutionIreland. The six north eastern counties, known as Northern Ireland, remained within the United Kingdom. The Irish Civil Warfollowed soon after the War of Independence. The history of Northern Ireland has since been dominated by sporadic sectarian conflict between (mainly Catholic) Nationalists and (mainly Protestant) Unionists. This conflict erupted into the Troubles in the late 1960s, until an uneasy peace thirty years later.