The history of Ireland in thousands and hundreds of years:
- 9000 BC: ice age: covered in ice, part of mainland Europe
- 8000 BC:
- 7000 BC:
- 6000 BC: stone age: people arrive
- 5000 BC:
- 4000 BC: Neolithic: farming (3500) arrives from Spain, forests cleared with stone axes; wheat, barley, sheep, goats, cows; walls, forts; passage tombs (3200)
- 3000 BC:
- 2000 BC; bronze age (1800): bronze made with tin from Spain; gold jewellery, the wheel, oxen, weaving, alcohol
- 1000 BC: iron age: Celts arrive (700) probably from Spain, bog men, kings
- AD 1:
- 400s: St Patrick, Christianity (432)
- 500s: sends missionaries to Britain; flowering of Irish culture, saints and scholars
- 800s: the Book of Kells (800), Vikings arrive, found the city of Dublin (841)
- 1000s: Vikings overthrown at the Battle of Clontarf (1014)
- 1100s: British rule (1171)
- 1200s: parliament
- 1300s: Scotland tries to take over (1315), fails but seriously weakens British rule, now limited to Dublin and the Pale, the region nearby
- 1500s: British reconquest, particularly under Elizabeth I
- 1600s: plantations: land taken from Irish Catholics and given to Protestant Ulster Scots, who become overlords; Catholics lose rights; Cromwell puts down uprising, hundreds of thousands die (1650); Battle of the Boyne (1690);
- 1700s: Ireland screwed by British trade policy; many Ulster Scots move to North America where they become the Scotch Irish, settling especially in Appalachia.
- 1800s: Catholic Emancipation: Catholics regain many rights (1829), the Great Potato Famine (1845-1849) kills a million while a million and more flee, mainly to America where they become Irish Americans.
- 1900s: after hundreds of years of uprisings the Sinn Fein overthrows British rule in the south (1922); Northern Ireland remains under British rule.
More on British rule:
In the 1600s the British government took land from Irish Catholics, made it into plantations and gave it to the Ulster Scots - English-speaking Protestants from Britain, mainly Scottish Presbyterians. In America they are called the Scotch Irish. They are not Irish by blood – just Scottish people who lived in Ireland for a time before coming to America. Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and John McCain are Scotch Irish.
Meanwhile the Irish Catholics lost not just their land but their rights too: the right to practise their religion (Catholicism), speak their language (Irish Gaelic), to buy property, stand for parliament, teach school, serve in the army, etc.
On paper Ireland became part of the United Kingdom, but in practice it was a British colony serving British interests, complete with dispossessed natives. A model for America?
Ireland as an island full of unhappy Catholics made it a threat to Britain (Protestant) since a Catholic enemy state – read France - could stage an uprising, free Ireland and then use it as a base to strike at Britain. It came close to that in 1690, but the British were able to defeat the French and Irish led by James II, the overthrown Catholic king of Britain, at the Battle of the Boyne.
Despite Catholic Emancipation in 1829 Protestants remained firmly on top, possessing most of the wealth. The Irish had lost their language, now speaking mainly English, but not their religion.