This video is part of a series of 19 animated maps.

View series: Europe and nations, 1918-1942

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The Irish Question

This map is part of a series of 19 animated maps showing the history of Europe and nations, 1918-1942.

Throughout the 19th century, the Irish people fought for their political emancipation and, by the early 20th century, their struggle was becoming increasingly radical. Created in 1905, the Sinn Fein movement called for total independence for Ireland, a move which threatened the strong Protestant minority living in Ulster which was eager to maintain its ties with Great Britain.

In 1914, Ireland was granted Home Rule, as Irish autonomy was known, but the legislation was suspended shortly after the outbreak of war. In 1916, an uprising of Irish nationalists failed, but Sinn Fein won a large majority of Irish seats in the 1918 UK general elections and decided to proclaim an Irish Parliament in Dublin.

From 1919 to 1921, Ireland was caught up in a guerrilla war between the nationalists of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British Army fighting with the Ulster Unionists. To end the conflict, partition of Ireland was proposed and ratified by the Treaty of London in 1921. The Free State of Ireland became a dominion within the British Empire, while a large part of the Ulster province remained part of the United Kingdom.