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Interwar Years

» The Irish Question

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Ireland Religion Map

Beginning in the Middle Ages the English sought to gain control of Ireland, the island nation to its west. By the 1600’s they controlled all of the British Isles. For the Irish Catholics that lived there, this marked the beginning of centuries of foreign control.

A turning point in Irish history was Easter 1916, when about 1,400 activists called the Irish Volunteers took over several government buildings in Dublin, a major port city. They declared independence from England, but British troops were sent in to put down the rebellion. Within a week, 284 Irish were dead as well as 134 British soldiers. Following the uprising, several Irish nationalists were executed.

Public opinion in Ireland then turned against the British, and nationalist feelings grew. The Irish Republican Army, a group of volunteer fighters (who the British considered terrorists), began to wage war. In 1921, in an attempt to end the violence, Ireland was split in two. Its southern counties, which were almost 100% Catholic, gained their independence and became the Irish Free State. The northern counties, populated mainly by British Protestants, remained part of Great Britain.

After the compromise, northern Irish Catholics and Protestant created a segregated society with separate schools, sports, and communities, but the two groups were not equal. The Catholic minority faced discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas, so tension and violence increased. The conflict, which lasted for decades, became known as the troubles and lasted until 1998.

Answer the following questions from the reading above.

According to information in the passage, the section labeled 1 on the map is ___ and 3 is ___.

England . . . Ireland
Ireland . . . Great Britain
England . . . Irish Free State
Northern Ireland . . . England

Based on the reading, it could be concluded that the section labeled 2 on the map is mainly

Irish.
Catholic.
Protestant.
Republican.

What word is a synonym for segregated in the fourth paragraph?

separate
unfair
war-like
minority

Nationalist feelings in Ireland were based upon

race.
Many returning young soldiers just could not adjust to post war life.
religion.
country.

Which of these statements CANNOT be supported by information in the passage?

Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants have a long history of tension and violence.
The events of the Easter Uprising turned the Catholic public against the British.
Great Britain had difficulty maintaining control of its territory after World War I.
The British wanted control of Ireland because of rich resources and farmland.