Annexation and settlement of colonists

16th century

The Norman Conquest of Ireland, which remained incomplete, had however allowed the Anglo-Norman nobility to settle in the east and the south of the country. English presence thus dates from the 11th-12th centuries. English control was accentuated with the creation of the Tudor state during the 16th century. Taking advantage of internal conflicts between barons, English intervention in Irish affairs usually left the daily affairs to local chiefs. The Irish parliament remained in place, even if its decisions were subject to the English crown from 1495 under Henry VII (Poynings Law). The King of England, Henry VIII, had himself proclaimed King of Ireland (1541).

The first rebellions of clans against royal power (1550-1600) ended up, as usual at this time, with the seizure of the rebel lords’ lands and their redistribution to loyal subjects of the king, especially English and Welsh, principally in the south of Ireland. The spectators of Shakespeare’s Henry V (c.1599) would have recognized the only known reference  to the island in his texts: « Were now the general of our gracious empress / (As in good time he may), from Ireland coming, /bringing rebellion broached on his sword, /how many would the peaceful city quit/To welcome him!” (Chorus, Act IV, Scene 8).


17th century

Poitiers, Ibliothèques universitaires, Fonds ancien, FD 170

A – A Bill for giving further time…- [S.l.] : [s.n.], [1758?]

The coronation of the Scottish king James, as King of England (1603) announces the beginning of systematic colonization in Ireland as well as in Americas (Jamestown, Virginia 1607, Terreneuve, 1610, Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, 1620). From 1610 a colonization program concerning the most Gaelic lands in the north of Ireland brought Protestant migrants in (English, Scottish, Dutch and French) and pushed Irish Catholics out, to the less coveted lands of the west of Ireland, to the Caribbean and the Americas.

The massive colonization of the west (Connacht, 1630) was one of the reasons for the rebellion which broke out in 1641-1642. In addition, in England, the Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians ending with the intervention of Cromwell (1649-1653), resulted in slaughter, new expropriations and the Protestant and English domination: A Bill for Giving further Time to Trustees (…) for Vesting the Remainder in Fee of several Lands in Ireland in Trustees, in order to sell the same to Protestant Purchasers (doc. A, p. 1-3).


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