The English have been in Ireland as both peaceful settlers and conquerors since the 12th century. It was not until King Henry VIII (1509-1547) that the English interference took its toll on the Irish people. In order to subdue and rule Ireland, Henry sent Protestants to plant' or colonize Ireland and wrest control from the Gaelic and Catholic native population. All action on the part of the Irish to resist the incursions were soundly defeated by English forces.
The history of Ireland is a tortured one. The seeds of violence had been sown over many centuries, alluding to the present conflict known as the troubles'. Its roots can be traced back to the seventeenth century. The whole of Ireland was governed by the British forces from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century, during which time the British encouraged Protestant settlement in the northeastern corner of the predominantly Catholic country. .
To establish that the British are presently reaping the seeds of violence they themselves planted, there are several aspects in this relationships history that need to be considered. Firstly, not all Protestants wished to persecute the Catholics. Some, feeding of the ideals espoused in the American and French revolutions, and taking advantage of England's weakness during the American Revolution, saw the reasons and opportunity for independence from Britain. Wolfe Tone founded the Society of United Irishmen and with the assistance of the French, tried to launch a full-scale rebellion against British rule in 1798. Unfortunately, all was a moot point by 1801 when the British enacted the Act of Union, bringing the business of Ireland's government firmly under English control. This event instilled a distain for the British by the Iris, adding to ever mounting tensions between the two. .
An additional incident which furthered animosity between the English and the Irish, reflected in today's conflict, occurred in October 1843, when the British became agitated toward O Connell for the influence he wielded over masses of people.