The Highland Clearances were the evictions of a significant number of tenants in the Scottish Highlands in the period 1750 to 1860. In the first phase, clearance resulted from agricultural improvement, driven by the need for landlords to increase their income; this involved the enclosure of the open fields managed on the shared grazing. In the North and West of the region, these were replaced with large scale pastoral farms stocked with sheep, on which much higher rents were paid, with the displaced tenants getting alternative tenancies in newly created crofting communities, where they were expected to be employed in industries such as fishing, quarrying or the kelp industry; the reduction in status from farmer to crofter was one of the causes of resentment from these changes.:212The second phase involved overcrowded crofting communities from the first phase that had lost the means to support themselves, through famine and/or collapse of industries that they had relied on, as well as continuing population growth.
This is when "assisted passages" were common, when landowners paid the fares for their tenants to emigrate. Tenants who were selected for this had, in practical terms, little choice; the Highland Potato Famine struck towards the end of this period, giving greater urgency to the process. Agriculture in the Highlands had always been marginal, with famine a recurrent risk for pre-clearance communities.:47-48 Nevertheless, population levels increased through the 18th and early 19th century. This increase continued through nearly all of the time of the clearances, peaking in 1851, at around 300,000.:400 Emigration was part of Highland history before and during the clearances, reached its highest level after them.:2 During the first phase of the clearances, emigration could be considered a form of resistance to the loss of status being imposed by a landlord’s social engineering.:9The eviction of tenants went against dùthchas, the principle that clan members had an inalienable right to rent land in the clan territory.
This was never recognised in Scottish law. It was abandoned by clan chiefs as they began to think of themselves as commercial landlords, rather than as patriarchs of their people – a process that arguably started with the Statutes of Iona; the clan members continued to rely on dùthchas. This different viewpoint was an inevitable source of grievance.:35-36, 39, 60, 300 The actions of landlords varied. Some did try to delay or limit evictions to their financial cost; the Countess of Sutherland genuinely believed her plans were advantageous for those resettled in crofting communities and could not understand why tenants complained. A few landlords displayed complete lack of concern for evicted tenants. There is a substantial distance between the understanding of the Highland clearances held by historians and the popular view of these events; the subject was ignored by academic historians until the publication of a book by the journalist John Prebble in 1963.:1-13 However, a substantial body of academic work now exists on the subject, to the extent that there is an argument that the balance of work in Scottish history is excessively tilted toward the Highlands.:9 The definition of "clearance" is debatable.
The term was not in common use during much of the clearances. However, by 1843, "clearance" had become a general word to describe the activities of Highland landlords, its use was ambiguous, as for some it meant only the displacement of large numbers of people from a single place at one time. For others, the eviction of a single tenant at the end of a lease could be termed "clearance". Eric Richards suggests that current usage is broad, meaning "any displacement of occupiers by Highland landlords", he adds that it can apply to both large and small evictions, includes voluntary or forced removal and instances involving either emigration or resettlement nearby.:6-8 T. M. Devine takes the view that "clearance" has a broader meaning now than when it was used in the 19th century.:12 The first phase of the Highland Clearances was part of the Scottish Agricultural Revolution but happened than the same process in the Scottish Lowlands. Scottish agriculture in general modernised much more than in England and, to a large extent, elsewhere in Europe.
The growing cities of the Industrial Revolution presented an increased demand for food. Those working in this system lived in townships or bailtean. Under the run rig system, the open fields were divided into equivalent parts and these were allocated, once a year, to each of the occupiers, who worked their land individually. With no individual leases or ownership of plots of land, there was little incentive to improve it. Nor, with common grazing, could an individual owner improve the quality of his stock.:27 Enclosure of the common lands and the run rig fields was a method of improvement. More there was a greater change in land use: the replacement of mixed farming wi
Belfast is a city in the United Kingdom, the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is second-largest on the island of Ireland, it had a population of 333,871 as of 2015. By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was a key industry. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945. Belfast suffered in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities.
However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom. Throughout the 21st century, the city has seen a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, has benefitted from substantial economic and commercial growth. Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as for the arts, higher education and law, is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, it is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018; the name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.
The name would thus translate as " mouth of the sandbar" or " mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, its tributary the Farset; this area was the hub. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad. An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located; this interpretation was favoured by John O'Donovan. It seems clear, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is used. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim and County Down; the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, built by de Courcy in 1177; the O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast. Belfast became a substantial settlement in the 17th century after being established as a town by Sir Arthur Chichester, it was settled by Protestant English and Scottish migrants at the time of the Plantation of Ulster.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast, after Henry Joy McCracken and other prominent Presbyterians from the city invited Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell to a meeting, after having read Tone's "Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland". Evidence of this period of Belfast's growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and became Ireland's pre-eminent industrial city. Industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, at the end of the 19th century, Belfast overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland; the Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing up to 35,000 workers. In 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned.
The accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfas
Gaelic warfare was the type of warfare practised by the Gaelic peoples, the Irish, Gaels in Scotland, Manx, in the pre-modern period. Irish warfare was for centuries centred on the Ceithearn, or kern in English, light skirmishing infantry who harried the enemy with missiles before charging. John Dymmok, serving under Elizabeth I's lord-lieutenant of Ireland, described the kerns as: "... A kind of footman armed with a sword, a target of wood, or a bow and sheaf of arrows with barbed heads, or else three darts, which they cast with a wonderful facility and nearness..."For centuries the backbone of Gaelic Irish warfare were armed foot soldiers, armed with a sword, long dagger, bow and a set of javelins, or darts. The introduction of the heavy Norse-Gaelic Gallowglass mercenaries brought long broadswords, similar to the Scottish claymore. Gaelic warfare was anything but static, as Irish soldiers looted or bought the newest and most effective weaponry. By the time of the Tudor reconquest of Ireland, the Irish had adopted Continental "pike and shot" formations, consisting of pikemen mixed with musketeers and swordsmen.
Indeed, from 1593 to 1601, the Gaelic Irish fought with the most up-to-date methods of warfare, including full reliance on firearms. For the most part, the Gaelic Irish fought without armour, instead wearing saffron coloured belted tunics called léine, the plural being léinte (pronounced'layntuh/laynchuh'. Armour was a simple affair: the poorest might have worn padded coats. Gallowglass mercenaries have been depicted as having worn mail tunics and in latter period, steel burgonet helmets, but the majority of Gaelic warriors would have been protected only by a small shield. Shields were round, with a spindle shaped boss, though the regular iron boss models were introduced by the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. A few shields were oval in shape or square, but most of them were small and round, like bucklers, to better enable agility. In Gaelic Ireland, before the Viking age, there was a heavy importance placed on clan wars and ritual combat. Another important aspect of Celtic ritual warfare at this time was single combat.
To settle a dispute and measure one's prowess, it was customary to challenge an individual warrior from the other army to ritual single combat to the death while cheered on by the opposing hosts. Such fights were common before pitched battle, for ritual purposes tended to occur at river fords. Ritual Combat would manifest itself in the Duel, as seen in the Scottish Martial Arts of the 18th century; the victor was determined by. However, this was not always observed, at times the duel would continue to the death. One of the most common causes of conflict in early Medieval Ireland was Cattle raiding. Cattle were the main form of wealth in Gaelic Ireland, as it was in many parts of Europe, as currency had not yet been introduced, the aim of most wars was the capture of the enemy's cattle. Indeed, cattle raiding had become a social institution, newly crowned kings would carry out raids on traditional rivals; the Gaelic term creach rígh, or "king's raid", was used to describe the event, implying it was a customary tradition.
Ceithern were members of individual tribes, but when the Vikings and English introduced new systems of billeting to soldiers, the kern became billeted soldiers and mercenaries who served anyone who paid them the most. Because kerns were equipped and trained as light skirmishers, they faced a severe disadvantage in Pitched battle. In battle, the kerns and armed horsemen would charge the enemy line after intimidating them with war cries and pipes. If the kerns failed to break an enemy line after the charge, they were liable to flee. If the enemy formation did not break under the kern's charge, the armed and armoured gallowglass would advance from the rear and attack. By the time of the Tudor reconquest of Ireland, the forces under Hugh O'Neill Earl of Tyrone adopted Continental pike-and-shot tactics to fight the invading English, however these formations proved vulnerable without adequate cavalry support. Firearms were used in ambush against enemy columns on the march; as time went on, the Gaels began intensifying their colonies in Roman Britain.
Naval forces were necessary for this, and, as a result, large numbers of small boats, called currachs, were employed. Chariots and horses were transported across the sea to fight, because Gaelic forces were so at sea, weaponry had to change. Javelins and slings became more uncommon, as they required too much space to launch, which the small currachs did not allow. Instead and more Gaels were armed with bows and arrows; the Dál Riata, for example, after colonising the west of Scotland and becoming a maritime power, became an army composed of archers. Slings went out of use, replaced by both bows and a effective naval weapon called the crann tabhaill, a kind of catapult; the Gaels realised, that the use of cavalry, as opposed to chariots, was cheaper, by the 7th century AD, chariots had disappeared from Ireland and had been replaced by cavalry. When the Gaels came into contact with the Vikings, they realised the need for heavier weaponr
Gaelic Ireland was the Gaelic political and social order, associated culture, that existed in Ireland from the prehistoric era until the early 17th century. Before the Norman invasion of 1169, Gaelic Ireland comprised the whole island. Thereafter, it comprised that part of the country not under foreign dominion at a given time. For most of its history, Gaelic Ireland was a "patchwork" hierarchy of territories ruled by a hierarchy of kings or chiefs, who were elected through tanistry. Warfare between these territories was common. A powerful ruler was acknowledged as High King of Ireland. Society was made up of clans and, like the rest of Europe, was structured hierarchically according to class. Throughout this period, the economy was pastoral and money not used. A Gaelic Irish style of dress, dance, sport and art can be identified, with Irish art merging with Anglo-Saxon styles to create Insular art. Gaelic Ireland was pagan and had an oral culture. Inscription in the ogham alphabet began in the protohistoric period as early as the 1st century.
The conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of literature, much of Ireland's rich pre-Christian mythology and sophisticated law code were preserved, albeit Christianized. In the Early Middle Ages, Ireland was an important centre of learning. Irish missionaries and scholars were influential in western Europe, helped to spread Christianity to much of Britain and parts of mainland Europe. In the 9th century, Vikings began raiding and founding settlements along Ireland's coasts and waterways, which became its first large towns. Over time, these settlers became the Norse-Gaels. After the Norman invasion of 1169–71, large swathes of Ireland came under the control of Norman lords, leading to centuries of conflict with the native Irish; the King of England claimed sovereignty over this territory – the Lordship of Ireland – and the island as a whole. However, the Gaelic system continued in areas outside Anglo-Norman control; the territory under English control shrank to an area known as the Pale and, outside this, many Hiberno-Norman lords adopted Gaelic culture.
In 1542, Henry VIII of England declared himself King of Ireland. The English began to conquer the island. By 1607, Ireland was under English control, bringing the old Gaelic political and social order to an end. Gaelic culture and society was centred around the clann or fine, the landscape and history of Ireland was wrought with inter-clan relationships, friendships, vendettas, so on. Gaelic Ireland had appreciation of deeper and intellectual pursuits. Filí and draoithe were held in high regard during Pagan times and orally passed down the history and traditions of their people. Many of their spiritual and intellectual tasks were passed on to Christian monks, after said religion prevailed from the 5th century onwards. However, the filí continued to hold a high position. Poetry, storytelling and other art forms were prized and cultivated in both pagan and Christian Gaelic Ireland. Hospitality, bonds of kinship and the fulfilment of social and ritual responsibilities were important. Like Britain, Gaelic Ireland consisted not several.
The main kingdoms were Ulaid, Laigin, Connacht, Bréifne, In Tuaiscert, Airgíalla. Each of these overkingdoms were built upon lordships known as túatha. Law tracts from the early 700s describe a hierarchy of kings: kings of túath subject to kings of several túatha who again were subject to the regional overkings. Before the 8th century these overkingdoms had begun to replace the túatha as the basic sociopolitical unit. Before Christianization, the Gaelic Irish were pagan, they had many gods and goddesses, which have parallels in the pantheons of other European nations. Two groups of supernatural beings who appear throughout Irish mythology—the Tuatha Dé Danann and Fomorians—are believed to represent the Gaelic pantheon, they were animists, believing that all aspects of the natural world contained spirits, that these spirits could be communicated with. Burial practices—which included burying food and ornaments with the dead—suggest a belief in life after death; some have equated this afterlife with the Otherworld realms known as Magh Meall and Tír na nÓg in Irish mythology.
There were four main religious festivals each year, marking the traditional four divisions of the year – Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh. The mythology of Ireland was passed down orally, but much of it was written down by Irish monks, who Christianized and modified it to an extent; this large body of work is split into three overlapping cycles: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle. The first cycle is a pseudo-history that describes how Ireland, its people and its society came to be; the second cycle tells of the deaths of Ulaidh heroes such as Cúchulainn. The third cycle tells of the exploits of the Fianna. There are a number of tales that do not fit into these cycles – this includes the immrama and echtrai, which are tales of voyages to the'Otherworld'; the introduction of Christianity to Ireland dates to sometime before the 5th century, with Palladius sent by Pope Celestine I in the mid-5th century to minister to Irish "believing in Christ". Early medieval traditions credit Saint Patrick as being the first Primate of Ireland
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
The Irish diaspora refers to Irish people and their descendants who live outside the island of Ireland. The phenomenon of migration from Ireland is recorded since the Early Middle Ages, but it is only possible to quantify it from around 1700: since between 9 and 10 million people born in Ireland have emigrated; this is more than the population of Ireland at its historical peak of 8.5 million in the 1840s. The poorest of them went to Great Britain Liverpool. After 1840, emigration from Ireland became a massive and efficiently managed national enterprise. In 1890, 40% of Irish-born people were living abroad. By the 21st century, an estimated 80 million people worldwide claimed some Irish descent, which includes more than 36 million Americans who claim Irish as their primary ethnicity; as as the second half of the nineteenth century, the majority of Irish emigrants spoke Irish as their first language. This had social and cultural consequences for the cultivation of the language abroad, including innovations in journalism.
The language continues to be cultivated abroad by a small minority as a social medium. The Irish diaspora are assimilated in most countries outside Ireland. Ciarán Cannon is the Republic of Ireland's Minister of State for the Diaspora; the term Irish diaspora is open to many interpretations. The diaspora, broadly interpreted, contains all those known to have Irish ancestors, i.e. over 100 million people, more than fifteen times the population of the island of Ireland, about 4.6 million in 2011. It has been argued the idea of an Irish diaspora, as distinct from the old identification of Irishness with Ireland itself, was influenced by the perceived advent of global mobility and modernity. Irishness could now be identified with dispersed groups of Irish descent, but many of those individuals were the product of complex ethnic intermarriage in America and elsewhere, complicating the idea of a single line of descent. "Irishness" might rely on individual identification with an Irish diaspora. The Government of Ireland defines the Irish diaspora as all persons of Irish nationality who habitually reside outside of the island of Ireland.
This includes Irish citizens who have emigrated abroad and their children, who are Irish citizens by descent under Irish law. It includes their grandchildren in cases where they were registered as Irish citizens in the Foreign Births Register held in every Irish diplomatic mission. Under this legal definition, the Irish diaspora is smaller—some 3 million persons, of whom 1.47 million are Irish-born emigrants. Given Ireland's population of 4.85 million, this is still a large ratio. However, the usage of Irish diaspora is not limited by citizenship status, thus leading to an estimated membership of up to 80 million persons—the second and more emotive definition; the Irish Government acknowledged this interpretation—although it did not acknowledge any legal obligations to persons in this larger diaspora—when Article 2 of the Constitution of Ireland was amended in 1998 to read "urthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage."
The right to register as an Irish citizen terminates at the third generation. This contrasts with citizenship law in Italy, Israel and other countries which practice jus sanguinis or otherwise permit members of the diaspora to register as citizens. There are people of Irish descent abroad who reject inclusion in an Irish "diaspora" and who designate their identity in other ways, they may see the diasporic label as something used by the Irish government for its own purposes. The Irish, whom the Romans called Scotti, had raided and settled along the West Coast of Roman Britain, numbers were allowed to settle within the province, where the Roman Army recruited many Irish into auxiliary units that were dispatched to the German frontier; the Attacotti, who were recruited into the Roman army, may have been Irish settlers in Britain. Following the withdrawal of the Roman army, the Irish began increasing their footholds in Britain, with part of the north-West of the island annexed within the Irish kingdom of Dál Riata.
In time, the Irish colonies became independent, merged with the Pictish kingdom, formed the basis of modern Scotland. The traditionally Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland are still referred to in the Gaelic language as a' Ghàidhealtachd. Irish monks, the Celtic church, pioneered a wave of Irish emigration into Great Britain, continental Europe. Throughout early Medieval times Britain and continental Europe experienced Irish immigration of varying intensity from clerics and scholars who are collectively known as peregrini. Irish emigration to western Europe, to Great Britain, has continued at a greater or lesser pace since then. Today, the ethnic-Irish are the single largest minority group in both England and Scotlan
Great Famine (Ireland)
The Great Famine, or the Great Hunger, was a period in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 of mass starvation and emigration. With the most affected areas in the west and south of Ireland, where the Irish language was spoken, the period was contemporaneously known in Irish as An Drochshaol, loosely translated as the "hard times"; the worst year of the period, that of "Black 47", is known in Irish as Bliain an Drochshaoil. During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%; the proximate cause of the famine was a natural event, a potato blight, which infected potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s, precipitating some 100,000 deaths in total in the worst affected areas and among similar tenant farmers of Europe. The food crisis influenced much of the unrest in the more widespread European Revolutions of 1848; the event is sometimes referred to as the Irish Potato Famine outside Ireland. The impact of the blight was exacerbated by political belief in laissez-faire economics.
The famine was a watershed in the history of Ireland, which from 1801 to 1922 was ruled directly by Westminster as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Together with the Napoleonic Wars, the Great Famine in Ireland produced the greatest loss of life in 19th-century Europe; the famine and its effects permanently changed the island's demographic and cultural landscape, producing an estimated two million refugees and spurring a century-long population decline. For both the native Irish and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory; the strained relations between many Irish and the British Crown soured further both during and after the famine, heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions, boosting Irish nationalism and republicanism in Ireland and among Irish emigrants in the United States and elsewhere. The potato blight returned to Europe in 1879, but by that point the labourers of Ireland had, in the Legacy of the Great Irish Famine, begun the "Land War", described as one of the largest agrarian movements to take place in 19th-century Europe.
The movement, organized by the Land League, continued the political campaign for the Three Fs, issued in 1850 by the Tenant Right League and developed during the Great Famine. When the potato blight returned in 1879, the League boycotted "notorious landlords" and its members physically blocked evictions of farmers; as a result, the consequent reduction in homelessness and house demolition resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of deaths. Since the Acts of Union in January 1801, Ireland had been part of the United Kingdom. Executive power lay in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Chief Secretary for Ireland, who were appointed by the British government. Ireland sent 105 members of parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, Irish representative peers elected 28 of their own number to sit for life in the House of Lords. Between 1832 and 1859, 70 % of Irish representatives were the sons of landowners. In the 40 years that followed the union, successive British governments grappled with the problems of governing a country which had, as Benjamin Disraeli put it in 1844, "a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, an alien established Protestant church, in addition the weakest executive in the world."
One historian calculated that, between 1801 and 1845, there had been 114 commissions and 61 special committees enquiring into the state of Ireland, that "without exception their findings prophesied disaster. Lectures printed in 1847 by John Hughes, Bishop of New York, are a contemporary exploration into the antecedent causes the political climate, in which the Irish famine occurred. During the Famine, Ireland produced enough food and wool to feed and clothe double its nine million people; when Ireland had suffered a famine in 1782–83, its ports were closed to keep Irish-grown food in Ireland to feed the Irish. Local food prices promptly dropped. Merchants lobbied against the export ban, but Grattan's Parliament, exercising the short-lived powers within the Constitution of 1782, overrode their protests. There was no such export ban in the 1840s; some historians have argued, because exports were not stopped, the famine was artificial and a consequence of the British government's failure to retain foodstuffs in the country.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish Catholics were discriminated against. They constituted the vast majority of the population, but they had been prohibited by the penal laws from purchasing or leasing land, holding political office, living in or within 5 miles of a corporate town, obtaining education, entering a profession, doing many other things necessary for a person to succeed and prosper in society. By 1793, such laws had been reformed and the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 allowed Irish Catholics to again sit in parliament. During the 18th century, the "middleman system" for managing landed. Rent collection was left in middlemen; this assured the landlord of a regular income, relieved them of direct responsibility, while leaving tenants open to exploitation by the middlemen. Catholics, the bulk of whom lived in conditions of poverty and insecurity despite Catholic emancipation in 1829, made up 80% of the population. At the top of the "social pyramid" was the "ascendancy class", the English and Anglo-Irish f