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Dublin is the capital of the former, Belfast of the latter.The country is divided into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster.
The island of Ireland lies west of Great Britain across the Irish Sea and St. It is divided into two separate political entities: the independent Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, a constituent of the United Kingdom.By the sixteenth century English control over Ireland was limited to a small area of land surrounding Dublin.Consequently, Henry VIII and his successors endeavored to force the Irish to submit through military incursions and by "planting" large areas of Ireland with settlers loyal to England.In the second half of the twelfth century King Henry II began the English Lordship of Ireland and the challenge of the Anglo-Norman Conquest commenced.By the close of the medieval period many of the Anglo-Norman invaders had been absorbed into the Gaelic population.In 1800, two years after the defeat of the rebellion of Protestant and Catholic United Irishmen led by Wolfe Tone, the Act of Union was passed, combining Great Britain and Ireland into one United Kingdom.
The Catholic Emancipation Act followed in 1829 chiefly due to the activities of the Irish politician Daniel O'Connell.
The population of the Republic of Ireland in 1991 was approximately 3,523,401, that of Northern Ireland 1,569,971.
About 95 percent of the Republic's population is Roman Catholic; most of the rest are Protestant.
All of the first three and part of the fourth are situated within the Republic of Ireland.
Ulster is made up of nine counties; the northeastern six constitute Northern Ireland.
Hoping to regain some of their property, the Catholic Irish sided with the Catholic James II of England but their fortunes further declined when James was defeated by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.