400 metres hurdles
The 400 metres hurdles is a track and field hurdling event. The event has been on the Olympic athletics programme since 1900 since 1984 for women. On a standard outdoor track, 400 metres is the length of the inside lane, once around the stadium. Runners stay in their lanes the entire way after starting out of the blocks and must clear ten hurdles that are evenly spaced around the track; the hurdles are positioned and weighted so that they fall forward if bumped into with sufficient force, to prevent injury to the runners. Although there is no longer any penalty for knocking hurdles over, runners prefer to clear them cleanly, as touching them during the race slows runners down; the best male athletes can run the 400 m hurdles in a time of around 47 seconds, while the best female athletes achieve a time of around 53 seconds. The current men's and women's world record holders are Kevin Young with 46.78 seconds and Yuliya Pechonkina with 52.34 seconds. Compared to the 400 metres run, the hurdles race takes the men about three seconds longer and the women four seconds longer.
The 400 m hurdles was held for both sexes at the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Athletics. The first championship for women came at the 1980 World Championships in Athletics – being held as a one-off due to the lack of a race at the 1980 Summer Olympics; the first awards in a 400 m hurdles race were given in 1860 when a race was held in Oxford, over a course of 440 yards. While running the course, participants had to clear twelve wooden hurdles, over 100 centimetres tall, spaced in intervals. To reduce the risk of injury, somewhat more lightweight constructions were introduced in 1895 that runners could push over. However, until 1935 runners were disqualified if they pushed over more than three hurdles in a race and records were only accepted if the runner in question had cleared all hurdles clean and left them all standing; the 400 m hurdles became an Olympic event at the 1900 Summer Olympics in France. At the same time, the race was standardized so that identical races could be held and the finish times compared to each other.
As a result, the official distance was fixed to 400 metres, or one lap of the stadium, the number of hurdles was reduced to ten. The official height of the hurdles was set to 76.20 cm for women. The hurdles were now placed on the course with a run-up to the first hurdle of 45 metres, a distance between the hurdles of 35 metres each, a home stretch from the last hurdle to the finish line of 40 metres; the first documented 400 m hurdles race for women took place in 1971. The International Association of Athletics Federations introduced the event as a discipline in 1974, although it was not run at the Olympics until 1984, the first Men's World Champion having been crowned the year before at the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Athletics. A special edition of the Women's 400m Hurdles happened in the 1980 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in response to the Women's 400m Hurdles not being included in the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics and the Liberty Bell Classic. Many athletic commentators and officials have brought up the idea of lifting the height of the women's 400 m hurdles to incorporate a greater requirement of hurdling skill.
This is a view held by German athletic coach Norbert Stein: "All this means that the women's hurdles for specialists, who are the target group to be dealt with in this discussion, is depreciated in skill demands when compared to the men's hurdles. It should not be possible in the women's hurdles that the winner is an athlete whose performance in the flat sprint is demonstrably excellent but whose technique of hurdling is only moderate and whose anthropometric characteristics are not optimal; this was the case at the World Championships in Seville and the same problem can be seen at international and national meetings." "The 400m hurdle race one of the most demanding of all events in the sprint-hurdle group." It requires speed and hurdling technique all along with unique awareness and special concentration throughout the race. When preparing to hurdle, the blocks should be set so that the athlete arrives at the first hurdle leading on the desired leg without inserting a stutter step. A stutter step is when the runner has to chop his or her stride down to arrive on the "correct" leg for take off.
Throughout the race, any adjustments to stride length stride speed should be made several strides out from the hurdle because a stutter or being too far from the hurdle at take off will result in loss of momentum and speed. At the beginning of the take-off, the knee must be driven toward the hurdle and the foot extended; the leg position when extended must be stretched out, in a position of a split. The knee should be bent when crossing the hurdle. Unless an athlete's body has great flexibility, the knee must be bent to allow a forward body lean. Unlike the 110m hurdles, a significant forward body lean is not that necessary due to the hurdles being lower. However, the trail leg must be kept bent and short to provide a quick lever action allowing a fast hurdle clearance; the knee should not be flat across the top of the hurdle. It is important that the hurdler doesn't reach out on the last stride before the hurdle as this will result in a longer bound being made to clear the hurdle; this will result in a loss of momentum if the foot lands well in front of the center of gravity.
Using a left lead leg on the bends allows the hurdler to run closer to the inside of the lane and cover a shorter distance. Additionally, if the left leg is used for the lead the athlete's upper body can be lean
4 × 400 metres relay
The 4 × 400 metres relay or long relay is an athletics track event in which teams consist of four runners who each complete 400 metres or one lap. It is traditionally the final event of a track meet. At top class events, the first 500 metres is run in lanes. Start lines are thus staggered over a greater distance than in an individual 400 metres race; the longer 4 × 440 yards relay was run British and American meetings, until metrication was completed in the 1970s. Relay race runners carry a relay baton which they must transfer between teammates. Runners have a 20 m box in; the first transfer is made within the staggered lane lines. This prevents confusion and collisions during transfer. Unlike the 4 × 100 m relay, runners in the 4 × 400 look back and grasp the baton from the incoming runner, due to the fatigue of the incoming runner, the wider margins allowed by the longer distance of the race. Disqualification is rare; as runners have a running start, split times cannot be compared to individual 400 m performances.
Internationally, the U. S. men's team has dominated the event, but have been challenged by Jamaica in the 1950s and Britain in the 1990s. The current men's Olympic champions are from the United States. According to the IAAF rules, world records in relays can only be set if all team members have the same nationality. Mixed-gendered 4 × 400 metres relays were introduced at the 2017 IAAF World Relays, but the IAAF has yet to recognize any world records in that event. Note: On 12 August 2008, the IAAF rescinded a time of 2:54.20 set by the USA at Uniondale on 22 July 1998 after Pettigrew admitted to using human growth hormone and EPO between 1997 and 2003. Note: A time of 3:00.77 by the USC runners at the 2018 NCAA Division I Championship was rejected as a record as Benjamin was a citizen of Antigua & Barbuda while the others are US citizens. US runners Ilolo Izu, Robert Grant, Devin Dixon, Mylik Kerley recorded a 3:01.39 at the same race also unable for record proposes. Correct as of August 2017.
Correct as of August 2017. Note: * Indicates athletes who ran in preliminary rounds and received medals. Note: † Indicates athlete who did not run in any rounds and received medal. Note: Marion Jones was stripped of all her Olympic medals in 2000. Crystal Cox was stripped of her Olympic medal in both being found guilty of doping violations. Dominique Blake was accidentally given her Olympic medal and she returned it in 2017. Note * Indicates athletes who ran only in the preliminary round and received medals. Dq1 The United States team won the 1997 World Championships in a time of 2:56.47 minutes, but were disqualified in 2009 after Pettigrew admitted to doping during the period. Note * Indicates athletes who ran only in the preliminary round and received medals. Note * Indicates athletes who ran only in the preliminary round and received medals. Herb McKenley ran a 44.6 split in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic final. Ron Freeman ran a 43.2 split in the 1968 Mexico Olympic final. Julius Sang ran a 43.6 split in the 1972 Munich Olympic final.
Alberto Juantorena ran a 43.7 split in the 1977 IAAF World Cup event as part of the Americas team. Quincy Watts ran Steve Lewis ran a 43.4 split in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic final. Butch Reynolds ran a 43.23 split and Michael Johnson ran a 42.91 split in the 1993 Stuttgart World Championship final. Jeremy Wariner ran a 43.10 split in the 2007 Osaka World Championship final. Jeremy Wariner ran a 43.18 split in the 2008 Beijing Olympic final. Michael Norman ran a 43.06 split in the 2018 NCAA West Preliminaries final. Jarmila Kratochvílová ran a 47.6 split in the 1982 Athens European Championship final, a 47.75 split in the 1983 Helsinki World Championship final, a 47.9 split in the 1983 Europa Cup in London. Marita Koch ran a 47.70 split in Erfurt 1984, a 47.9 split in the 1982 European Championship final, a 47.9 split at the 1985 Canberra World Cup. Allyson Felix ran a 47.72 split in the 2015 Beijing World Championships final, a 48.01 split in the 2007 Osaka World Championships final, a 48.20 split in the 2012 London Olympic final.
Olga Nazarova and Olga Bryzgina both ran a 47.80 split in the 1988 Seoul Olympic final. Florence Griffith-Joyner ran a 48.08 split in the 1988 Seoul Olympic final. IAAF list of 4x400-metres-relay records in XML
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympics, formally the Games of the XXX Olympiad and known as London 2012, was an international multi-sport event, held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, United Kingdom. The first event, the group stage in women's football, began on 25 July at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, followed by the opening ceremonies on 27 July. 10,768 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees participated. Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and then-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating bids from Moscow, New York City and Paris. London became the first city to host the modern Olympics three times, having hosted the Summer Games in 1908 and in 1948. Construction for the Games involved considerable redevelopment, with an emphasis on sustainability; the main focus was a new 200-hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford, East London.
The Games made use of venues that existed before the bid. The Games received widespread acclaim for their organisation, with the volunteers, the British military and public enthusiasm praised highly; the opening ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle, received widespread acclaim throughout the world, particular praise from the British public and a minority of ranging criticisms from some social media sites. During the Games, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, winning his 22nd medal. Saudi Arabia and Brunei entered female athletes for the first time, so that every eligible country has sent a female competitor to at least one Olympic Games. Women's boxing was included for the first time, thus the Games became the first at which every sport had female competitors; these were the final Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Jacques Rogge. The final medal tally was led by the United States, followed by China and host Great Britain. Several world and Olympic records were set at the games.
Though there were several controversies, the 2012 games were deemed successful with the rising standards of competition amongst nations across the world, packed stadiums and smooth organisation. Furthermore, the focus on sporting legacy and post-games venue sustainability was seen as a blueprint for future Olympics. By 15 July 2003, the deadline for interested cities to submit bids to the International Olympic Committee, nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Summer Olympics: Havana, Leipzig, Madrid, New York City and Rio de Janeiro. On 18 May 2004, as a result of a scored technical evaluation, the IOC reduced the number of cities to five: London, Moscow, New York and Paris. All five submitted their candidate files by 19 November 2004 and were visited by the IOC inspection team during February and March 2005; the Paris bid suffered two setbacks during the IOC inspection visit: a number of strikes and demonstrations coinciding with the visits, a report that a key member of the bid team, Guy Drut, would face charges over alleged corrupt party political finances.
Throughout the process, Paris was seen as the favourite as this was its third bid in recent years. London was seen as lagging behind Paris by a considerable margin, its position began to improve after the appointment of Lord Coe as the new head of London 2012 on 19 May 2004. In late August 2004, reports predicted a tie between Paris. On 6 June 2005, the IOC released its evaluation reports for the five candidate cities, they did not contain any scores or rankings, but the report for Paris was considered the most positive. London was close behind, having closed most of the gap observed by the initial evaluation in 2004. New York and Madrid received positive evaluations. On 1 July 2005, when asked who would win, Jacques Rogge said, "I cannot predict it since I don't know how the IOC members will vote, but my gut feeling tells me that it will be close. It will come down to a difference of say ten votes, or maybe less."On 6 July 2005, the final selection was announced at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore.
Moscow was the first city to be eliminated, followed by New Madrid. The final two contenders were Paris. At the end of the fourth round of voting, London won the right to host the 2012 Games with 54 votes to 50. Tragically, the celebrations in London were short-lived, being overshadowed by bombings on London's transport system less than 24 hours after the announcement; the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games was created to oversee the staging of the Games after the success of the bid, held its first board meeting on 3 October 2005. The committee, chaired by Lord Coe, was in charge of implementing and staging the Games, while the Olympic Delivery Authority was in charge of the construction of the venues and infrastructure; the latter was established in April 2006. The Government Olympic Executive, a unit within the Department for Culture and Sport, was the lead government body for coordinating the London 2012 Olympics, it focused on oversight of the Games, cross-programme programme management and the London 2012 Olympic Legacy before and after the Games that would benefit London and the United Kingdom.
The organisation was responsible for the supervision of the £9.3 billion of public sector funding. In August 2011, security concerns arose surrounding the hosting of the Olympic Games in London due to the 2011 England riots, with a few countries expressing fear over the safety of the Games, in spite of the International Olympic Committee's assurance that the riots would not affect the Games; the IOC's Coordination Commission for the 2
Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Women's 4 × 400 metres relay
The women's 4 × 400 metres relay competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom was held at the Olympic Stadium on 10–11 August. It was 3 and a half seconds at the finish. Russia was second ahead of Jamaica and Ukraine, those teams remaining in the same positions from the first handoff; the three medaling countries finished in identical places in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Sanya Richards for the USA and Novlene Williams for Jamaica have been on all three teams. On February 1, 2017, following retesting of doping samples, Antonina Krivoshapka samples tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone; as they had been disqualified four years earlier, the Russian team again was disqualified. The bronze medals were reallocated to the Ukrainian team. Another Russian sprinter Yulia Gushchina was found guilty of doping in 2017. Third Russian runner Firova failed drug tests. Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were. All times are British Summer. Q denotes provisional qualification.
DNS denotes did not start. DNF denotes did not finish. DQ denotes. NR denotes national record. PB denotes personal best. SB denotes season's best. Qual. Rule: first 3 of each heat plus the 2 fastest times qualified. Heat 1 Heat 2 Nigeria finished in seventh place in the final but were disqualified due to a lane infringement
The Irish are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been a Gaelic people. Viking invasions of Ireland during the 8th to 11th centuries established the cities of Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought a large number of English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of the smaller Northern Ireland; the people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Northern Irish or some combination thereof. The Irish have their own customs, music, sports and mythology. Although Irish was their main language in the past, today most Irish people speak English as their first language.
The Irish nation was made up of kin groups or clans, the Irish had their own religion, law code and style of dress. There have been many notable Irish people throughout history. After Ireland's conversion to Christianity, Irish missionaries and scholars exerted great influence on Western Europe, the Irish came to be seen as a nation of "saints and scholars"; the 6th-century Irish monk and missionary Columbanus is regarded as one of the "fathers of Europe", followed by saints Cillian and Fergal. The scientist Robert Boyle is considered the "father of chemistry", Robert Mallet one of the "fathers of seismology". Famous Irish writers include Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, C. S. Lewis and Seamus Heaney. Notable Irish explorers include Brendan the Navigator, Sir Robert McClure, Sir Alexander Armstrong, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean. By some accounts, the first European child born in North America had Irish descent on both sides. Many presidents of the United States have had some Irish ancestry.
The population of Ireland is about 6.3 million, but it is estimated that 50 to 80 million people around the world have Irish forebears, making the Irish diaspora one of the largest of any nation. Emigration from Ireland has been the result of conflict and economic issues. People of Irish descent are found in English-speaking countries Great Britain, the United States and Australia. There are significant numbers in Argentina and New Zealand; the United States has the most people of Irish descent, while in Australia those of Irish descent are a higher percentage of the population than in any other country outside Ireland. Many Icelanders have Scottish Gaelic forebears. During the past 12,500 years of inhabitation, Ireland has witnessed some different peoples arrive on its shores; the ancient peoples of Ireland—such as the creators of the Céide Fields and Newgrange—are unknown. Neither their languages nor the terms they used to describe; as late as the middle centuries of the 1st millennium the inhabitants of Ireland did not appear to have a collective name for themselves.
Ireland itself was known by a number of different names, including Banba, Fódla, Ériu by the islanders and Hiverne to the Greeks, Hibernia to the Romans. Scotland takes its name from Scota, who in Irish mythology, Scottish mythology, pseudohistory, is the name given to two different mythological daughters of two different Egyptian Pharaohs to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry explaining the name Scoti, applied by the Romans to Irish raiders, to the Irish invaders of Argyll and Caledonia which became known as Scotland. Other Latin names for people from Ireland in Classic and Mediaeval sources include Attacotti and Gael; this last word, derived from the Welsh gwyddel "raiders", was adopted by the Irish for themselves. However, as a term it is on a par with Viking, as it describes an activity and its proponents, not their actual ethnic affiliations; the terms Irish and Ireland are derived from the goddess Ériu. A variety of historical ethnic groups have inhabited the island, including the Airgialla, Fir Ol nEchmacht, Fir Bolg, Érainn, Eóganachta, Conmaicne and Ulaid.
In the cases of the Conmaicne, Érainn, it can be demonstrated that the tribe took their name from their chief deity, or in the case of the Ciannachta, Eóganachta, the Soghain, a deified ancestor. This practice is paralleled by the Anglo-Saxon dynasties' claims of descent from Woden, via his sons Wecta, Baeldaeg and Wihtlaeg; the Greek mythographer Euhemerus originated the concept of Euhemerism, which treats mythological accounts as a reflection of actual historical events shaped by retelling and traditional mores. In the 12th century, Icelandic bard and historian Snorri Sturluson proposed that the Norse gods were historical war leaders and kings, who became cult figures set into society as gods; this view is in agreement with Irish historians such as Francis John Byrne. One legend states that the Irish were descended from one Míl Espáine, whose sons conquered Ireland around 1000 BC or
Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. It is on the east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, at the mouth of the River Liffey, is bordered on the south by the Wicklow Mountains, it has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, the population of the Greater Dublin area was 1,904,806. There is archaeological debate regarding where Dublin was established by the Gaels in or before the 7th century AD. Expanded as a Viking settlement, the Kingdom of Dublin, the city became Ireland's principal settlement following the Norman invasion; the city expanded from the 17th century and was the second largest city in the British Empire before the Acts of Union in 1800. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State renamed Ireland. Dublin is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts and industry; as of 2018 the city was listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network as a global city, with a ranking of "Alpha −", which places it amongst the top thirty cities in the world.
The name Dublin comes from the Irish word Dubhlinn, early Classical Irish Dubhlind/Duibhlind, from dubh meaning "black, dark", lind "pool", referring to a dark tidal pool. This tidal pool was located where the River Poddle entered the Liffey, on the site of the castle gardens at the rear of Dublin Castle. In Modern Irish the name is Duibhlinn, Irish rhymes from County Dublin show that in Dublin Leinster Irish it was pronounced Duílinn; the original pronunciation is preserved in the names for the city in other languages such as Old English Difelin, Old Norse Dyflin, modern Icelandic Dyflinn and modern Manx Divlyn as well as Welsh Dulyn. Other localities in Ireland bear the name Duibhlinn, variously anglicized as Devlin and Difflin. Scribes using the Gaelic script wrote bh with a dot over the b, rendering Duḃlinn or Duiḃlinn; those without knowledge of Irish omitted the dot. Variations on the name are found in traditionally Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland, such as An Linne Dhubh, part of Loch Linnhe.
It is now thought that the Viking settlement was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, from which Dyflin took its name. Beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements; the Viking settlement of about 841, a Gaelic settlement, Áth Cliath further up river, at the present day Father Mathew Bridge, at the bottom of Church Street. Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", is the common name for the city in modern Irish. Áth Cliath is a place name referring to a fording point of the River Liffey near Father Mathew Bridge. Baile Átha Cliath was an early Christian monastery, believed to have been in the area of Aungier Street occupied by Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. There are other towns of the same name, such as Àth Cliath in East Ayrshire, Anglicised as Hurlford; the area of Dublin Bay has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, but the writings of Ptolemy in about AD 140 provide the earliest reference to a settlement there.
He called it Eblana polis. Dublin celebrated its'official' millennium in 1988, meaning the Irish government recognised 988 as the year in which the city was settled and that this first settlement would become the city of Dublin, it is now thought the Viking settlement of about 841 was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, from which Dyflin took its name. Beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements which became the modern Dublin; the subsequent Scandinavian settlement centred on the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey in an area now known as Wood Quay. The Dubhlinn was a pool on the lowest stretch of the Poddle, used to moor ships; this pool was fully infilled during the early 18th century, as the city grew. The Dubhlinn lay where the Castle Garden is now located, opposite the Chester Beatty Library within Dublin Castle. Táin Bó Cuailgne refers to Dublind rissa ratter Áth Cliath, meaning "Dublin, called Ath Cliath". Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 10th century and, despite a number of attacks by the native Irish, it remained under Viking control until the Norman invasion of Ireland was launched from Wales in 1169.
It was upon the death of Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn in early 1166 that Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, King of Connacht, proceeded to Dublin and was inaugurated King of Ireland without opposition. According to some historians, part of the city's early economic growth is attributed to a trade in slaves. Slavery in Ireland and Dublin reached its pinnacle in the 10th centuries. Prisoners from slave raids and kidnappings, which captured men and children, brought revenue to the Gaelic Irish Sea raiders, as well as to the Vikings who had initiated the practice; the victims came from Wales, England and beyond. The King of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, after his exile by Ruaidhrí, enlisted the help of Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke, to conquer Dublin. Following Mac Murrough's death, Strongbow declared himself King of Leinster after gaining control of the city. In response to Strongbow's successful invasion, King Henry II of England affirmed his ultimate sovereignty by mou
Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power