Beautifully engraved Certificate from the The Irish Republic issued in 1866. This historic document was printed by the Continental Banknote Company and is black and green with vignettes of Erin with harp, American Soldier, and Irish Wolfhound at top centre, Theobald Wolfe Tone at left, Robert Emmet at right. The border has a shamrock motiff. This item has been folded and is over 151 years old.
Ireland (History)Celtic tribes in ancient Ireland established a distinctive culture (see CELT) that, in its full flower after the introduction (5th cent. A.D.) of Christianity by St. PATRICK, produced superb works of art and literature. Beginning in the 8th cent., Norsemen invaded the area, remaining until the Irish king BRIAN BORU broke their strength in 1014; Ireland then remained free from foreign interference for 150 years. But in the 12th cent. Pope Adrian granted overlordship of Ireland to HENRY II of England, initiating an Anglo-Irish struggle that lasted for nearly 800 years. The bitter religious contention between Irish Catholics and Protestants began in the 16th cent. after England tried to impose Protestantism on a largely Catholic Ireland. Irish rebellions flared up repeatedly-under HENRY VIII, ELIZABETH I, and Oliver CROMWELL. The Act of Union (1800) united England and Ireland; the Irish parliament was abolished, and Ireland was represented in the British parliament. Agitation by the Irish leader Daniel O'CONNELL resulted in passage of the CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION Act in 1829. But political developments were dwarfed by the Great Potato Famine (1845-49), in which nearly a million Irish died of starvation and disease; another 1,600,000 emigrated (1847-54) to the U.S. Irish desire for domestic control persisted.
The failure of the British government to implement HOME RULE, complicated by the fear in largely Protestant Ulster of Catholic domination, led to the Easter Rebellion of 1916. The militant SINN FéIN, founded (1905) among Irish Catholics, emerged as the dominant nationalist group, declaring themselves the Dáil Éireann (Irish Assembly) and proclaiming an Irish republic (1918). Outlawed by the British, the Sinn Féin went underground and waged guerrilla warfare. In 1920 a new Home Rule bill provided for partition of Ireland, with six counties of Ulster remaining part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland (see IRELAND, NORTHERN). In 1922 a treaty gave the remainder of Ireland dominion status within the British Empire as the Irish Free State.
Ireland, Republic of
independent republic (1994 est. pop. 3,539,000), 27,136 sq mi (70,282 sq km), occupying all but the northeastern corner of the island of Ireland in the British Isles; formerly the Irish Free State (1922-37) and Eire (1937-49). DUBLIN is the capital. Agriculture, primarily stock and poultry raising, engages 70% of the land and less than 15% of the people; crops include flax, oats, wheat, turnips, potatoes, sugar beets, and barley. Tourism is the second largest source of income. Industry produces linen and laces (for which Ireland is famous), food products, beer and ale, and textiles, particularly woolens. Gaelic and English are the official languages, but English is more widely spoken. About 95% of the population is Roman Catholic, but there is no established church.
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