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The Country

Geographically an integral part of Ireland, the six northern Irish counties (collectively known as “Ulster,” although excluding three counties of the historic province of that name) are politically included within the UK for reasons rooted in the ethnic and religious divisions introduced into Ireland by English and Scottish settlement in the 17th century. As a result of this colonization effort, the long-established Roman Catholic population of the northern counties came to be heavily outnumbered by Protestants, who assumed a dominant political, social, and economic position and insisted upon continued association of the territory with the UK when the rest of Ireland became independent after World War I. Although a minority, Roman Catholics are strongly represented throughout Northern Ireland and constitute a rising proportion of ...

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