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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 17:10 GMT

1170-1691: From Strongbow to the establishment of Protestant ascendancy

The Siege of Londonderry: a watershed in the province's history

Strongbow The lasting involvement of mainland Britain in Ireland begins in 1170 when the forces of the Anglo-Norman Earl of Pembroke, known as Strongbow, land in County Wexford to help the Irish king of Leinster against a rival king.

The following year, Strongbow becomes King of Leinster. King Henry II arrives with a large force to control his vassal and Norman colonisation increases.

Ulster conquered Ulster is taken by a small force of Anglo-Normans under John de Courcy in 1177.

Expansion halted Scots invade under Edward Bruce, brother of Robert, in 1315. Anglo-Norman expansion gradually halted and over a long time is reversed.

Beyond the Pale By the late 15th century, the English monarchs' domains are restricted to a small area around Dublin. A line of fortifications, the Pale, is built - the Irish outside are regarded as savages 'beyond the pale'.

Protestant ascendancy In 1541, Henry VIII changes his title from Lord of Ireland to King of Ireland - the first English monarch to claim the whole island.

[ image: Elizabeth I - an expansionist era]
Elizabeth I - an expansionist era
Accession of Protestant Elizabeth I in 1558 - start of increasing religious differences with Catholic Irish.

English colonisation and reassertion of rights increases, sparking a number of rebellions throughout Elizabeth's reign.

Revolt The greatest of the rebellions, led by Ulsterman Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, reaches its high point with victory over the English at the Yellow Ford in 1598.

Three years later, Spanish troops land at Kinsale in the south. O'Neill marches to support them but is decisively defeated by the English forces under Mountjoy. In 1601, O'Neill surrenders after Elizabeth offers a pardon. She dies, but her successor, James I, fulfils the offer.

Flight of the Earls Faced with growing English influence, O'Neill and another great Ulster lord, Rory O'Donnell, the Earl of Tyrconnell, leave their native land in 1607 aboard a French ship.

Plantation of Ulster Start of the the systematic colonisation in 1609 of Donegal, Tyrone, Derry, Armagh, Cavan and Fermanagh by settlers from England and Scotland.

English civil war Rebellion of native Irish in Ulster in 1641-2, in which 12,000 settlers are killed amid reports of atrocities. Reprisals carried out by Scots army under General Robert Monro.

Owen Roe O'Neill, nephew of Hugh, defeats Monro at the Battle of Benburb in 1646 but fails to exploit his victory.

[ image: Cromwell arrives in Drogheda]
Cromwell arrives in Drogheda
Cromwellian repression Oliver Cromwell lands in 1649 and brutally suppresses opposition - massacres at Drogheda and Wexford.

Thousands of Catholics are resettled or transported abroad. Catholic land seized - 41% of Antrim, 26% of Down, 34% of Armagh, 38% of Monaghan.

Restoration Charles II restored to English throne in 1660, but land seizures left largely untouched.

[ image: James II - left his crown in England, tried to regain it in Ireland...]
James II - left his crown in England, tried to regain it in Ireland...
Orangemen Three years after his accession, Catholic James II flees in 1688 when William of Orange, later William III, lands in England.

In Derry, 13 apprentice boys close the gates of the city on December 7 in the face of Catholic soldiers.

The following year, James lands in Ireland with French troops and marches on Derry to be met on April 18 with cries of "No surrender!" He lays siege to the city but fails to take it.

[ image: ...but was defeated at the Boyne]
...but was defeated at the Boyne
On July 1, 1690, William defeats James at the Battle of the Boyne and James flees back to France.

The supremacy of the Protestants in Ulster is assured by victory at the Battle of Aughrim in 1691.

The Treaty of Limerick in the same year allows 15,000 Irish soldiers to leave to serve France's Louis XIV and promises Catholic toleration.

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In this section

1997-98: Second IRA ceasefire to the Nobel Peace Prize

1995-96: Clinton's visit and the end of the IRA ceasefire

1993-94 The Downing Street Declaration and the IRA ceasefire

1990-92: Start of the talks process

1988-89: Gibraltar killings and release of the Guildford Four

1985-87: The Anglo-Irish Agreement

1981-84: Hunger strikes and the Brighton bomb

1976-80: The violence continues

1972-75: The failure of Sunningdale

1970-72: Internment and Bloody Sunday

1968-69: The troops are sent in

1939-67: Relative calm before the storm

1923-38: The fixing of the Irish border

1921-22: The Irish Free State and civil war

1917-20: The road to partition

1910-16: The 'winning' of Home Rule to the Easter Rebellion

1850-1909: Parnell, Gladstone and the battle for Home Rule

1695-1850: A time of revolution and the Great Famine

1170-1691: From Strongbow to the establishment of Protestant ascendancy