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Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster took place in the Irish province of Ulster during the early 17th century. English and Scottish Protestants were settled on land that had been confiscated from Catholic Irish landowners in the six counties of Donegal, Coleraine, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh and Cavan. It was the last and most successful of the Plantations of Ireland.
After the Flight of the Earls, a power vacuum existed in Ulster, which James I of England and his Lord Deputy in Ireland, Sir Arthur Chichester, sought to exploit to consolidate English rule over Ireland. The existing inhabitants of the land were seen as disloyal, both because of their previous rebellions against English rule and because of their Catholic religion.
The plan for the plantation was highly detailed. An undertaker, or landlord, would be granted between one and two thousand acres (4 and 8 km²) of land. In return for this land, he would undertake to settle 24 British males on every thousand acres (4 km²), displacing the existing Irish inhabitants completely. He would also have to build defences against a possible rebellion or invasion. The settlement was to be completed within three years. In this way, an entirely new community composed entirely of loyal British subjects would be created.
This plan proved to be unrealistic. Because of political uncertainty in Ireland, and the risk of attack by the dispossessed Irish, the undertakers had difficulty attracting settlers (especially from England). This meant that they were forced to keep Irish tenants, destroying the original plan of segregation between settlers and natives. In an attempt to rescue the plantation, the twelve great guilds and livery companies from the City of London were coerced into investing. This they did, giving the city and county of Londonderry its name.
By the time of the 1641 Rebellion, there were an estimated 40,000 planters, mostly Scottish, in Ulster.
- Information on the Plantation of Ulster at 'The Flight Of The Earls' by Irish History expert Dr John McCavitt FRHistS
- BBC History: Plantation of Ulster
- 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica: Plantation
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