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The rising was a military failure and had little support among the public.

However, the harsh response of the British government and particularly its execution of the rising's leaders won many over to the cause.

The country is divided into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster.

An important legacy of the Viking invasion was the establishment of such cities as Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Wexford.

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.

Though home rule was finally passed in 1914, it was deferred because of the onset of World War I.

On Easter Monday in 1916 a small force of Irish nationalists rebelled in Dublin against British rule.

After the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in 1921, the Irish Free State, whose constitutional status was tied to the British Commonwealth and required allegiance to the Crown, was established.

The Free State was composed of 26 of Ireland's 32 counties; the other six remained part of Britain.

Following O'Neill's defeat in 1603 and his subsequent flight to the Continent, the Crown commenced the large-scale plantation of Ulster with English; Scottish Presbyterians soon followed.

During the seventeenth century Ireland, continuing its steady decline, came increasingly under England's rule.

Thus began a great religious and cultural period for the country.

While the rest of Europe was swiftly declining into the Dark Ages, Irish monasteries—preserving the Greek and Latin of the ancient world—not only became great centers of learning, but also sent many famous missionaries to the Continent.

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.

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