Ireland and the British Empire

Ireland and the British Empire

Ireland and the British Empire

Ireland and the British Empire

Synopsis

Modern Irish history was determined by the rise, expansion, and decline of the British Empire. And British imperial history, from the age of Atlantic expansion to the age of decolonization, was moulded in part by Irish experience. But the nature of Ireland's position in the Empire has alwaysbeen a matter of contentious dispute. Was Ireland a sister kingdom and equal partner in a larger British state? Or was it, because of its proximity and strategic importance, the Empire's most subjugated colony? Contemporaries disagreed strongly on these questions, and historians continue to do so. Questions of this sort can only be answered historically: Ireland's relationship with Britain and the Empire developed and changed over time, as did the Empire itself. This book offers the first comprehensive history of the subject from the early modern era through the contemporary period. Thecontributors seek to specify the nature of Ireland's entanglement with empire over time: from the conquest and colonization of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, through the consolidation of Ascendancy rule in the eighteenth, the Act of Union in the period 1801-1921, the emergence of an IrishFree State and Republic, and eventual withdrawal from the British Commonwealth in 1948. They also consider the participation of Irish people in the Empire overseas, as soldiers, administrators, merchants, migrants, and missionaries; the influence of Irish social, administrative, and constitutionalprecedents in other colonies; and the impact of Irish nationalism and independence on the Empire at large. The result is a new interpretation of Irish history in its wider imperial context which is also filled with insights on the origins, expansion, and decline of the British Empire. This book offers the first comprehensive history of Ireland and the British Empire from the early modern era through the contemporary period. The contributors examine each phase of Ireland's entanglement with the Empire, from conquest and colonisation to independence, along with the extensiveparticipation of Irish people in the Empire overseas, and the impact of Irish politics and nationalism on other British colonies. The result is a new interpretation of Irish history in its wider imperial context which is also filled with insights on the origins, expansion, and decline of the BritishEmpire. SERIES DESCRIPTIONThe purpose of the five volumes of the Oxford History of the British Empire was to provide a comprehensive study of the Empire from its beginning to end, the meaning of British imperialism for the ruled as well as the rulers, and the significance of the British Empire as a theme in world history. The volumes in the Companion Series carry forward this purpose by exploring themes that were not possible to cover adequately in the main series, and to provide fresh interpretations of significant topics.

Excerpt

This book presents a history of Ireland and the British Empire from the origins of the Empire in the early modern era through its demise in the contemporary period. The course of modern Irish history was largely determined by the rise, expansion, and decline of the British Empire. And the course of British imperial history, from the age of Atlantic expansion to the age of decolonization, was moulded in part by Irish experience. The authors of this book seek to determine the shifting meanings of Empire, imperialism, and colonialism in Irish history over time. They examine each phase of Ireland's relationship to the Empire: conquest and colonization in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; consolidation of Ascendancy rule in the eighteenth century; formal integration under the Act of Union in the period 1801–1921; and, thereafter, independence and the eventual withdrawal of Ireland from the Commonwealth in 1949. In addition, several of the contributors examine the participation of Irish people in the Empire overseas, as merchants and migrants, as soldiers and administrators, and as missionaries. The book also considers the ways in which British policies in Ireland served as a laboratory for social, administrative, and constitutional policies subsequently adopted elsewhere in the Empire, and how Irish nationalism provided inspiration for independence movements in other colonies.

The nine chapters of the book are arranged in a flexible chronological framework with common themes interwoven throughout the narrative. After an opening chapter that surveys the topic as a whole, the second chapter examines English colonial expansion in Ireland in the early modern era, from the early sixteenth century through the end of the seventeenth. The third chapter considers Ireland's position and role in the British Empire from the 1690s through the Act of Union. The fourth chapter is devoted to the story of the Irish in the Empire at large over the full period covered by the book. Chapter 5 examines Ireland's, and then Northern Ireland's, colonial status and imperial involvement from the Act of Union to the outbreak of the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland in the 1960s, while the sixth chapter considers the relationship between Irish fiction and Empire under the Union and in its aftermath. Chapter 7 offers . . .

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