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Образование The end of Empire
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Partition of Ireland

The formal connection between Great Britain and Ireland dates from the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. In the late 1550s and early 1600s English and Scottish Protestants migrated to the northern province of Ulster, their religion setting diem apart from die other, indigenous Roman Catholic inhabitants of Ireland. In 1801 Ireland was unified with Great Britain, but Irish Nationalists continued to campaign in the 19th and early 20th centuries, for some measure of independence. At the same rime, the Protestant Unionist majority in the north resisted any moves towards Irish home rule. In 1921 the Anglo-Irish Treaty established the Irish Free State as a self-governing dominion, but Northern Ireland exercised its right to opt out and remain part of the United Kingdom.

Between 1922 and 1972 Northern Ireland was governed by a Parliament responsible for a range of local affairs. Following an upsurge in intercommunal violence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was ruled directly by Westminster while successive British Governments sought to find a political settlement capable of commanding widespread support on both sides of the divided community.

As a result of multi-party talks which began in June 1996, the Belfast Agreement - more commonly referred to as the 'Good Friday Agreement' - was finally reached on Friday 10 April 1998. This led to the establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly which is made up of 108 members elected by the people of the province.

Education and Social Welfare

The 1940s saw educational and social welfare developments, the broad principles of which are maintained today. In 1944 a new Education Act for England and Wales allowed for a great expansion of education provided by the State. A new Ministry of Education was empowered to develop a national education policy. Also, the school system was divided into two levels, primary and secondary, making secondary education to the age of 15 compulsory.

In 1942 the government-sponsored 'Beveridge report' proposed a comprehensive scheme of social insurance covering the whole community, forming the basis of much of the present social security system. Legislation in 1946 provided for the establishment of Britain's National Health Service (NHS), the most comprehensive medical care scheme of its time. The NHS has since provided a full range of mainly free medical services, available to all British residents regardless of their income.

At the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 the British Empire had expanded to almost one-fifth of the world land mass and one-quarter of the world population. However, from that time it decentralised. Self-governing dominions, such as Canada and Australia, were described in1926 as autonomous members of the 'British Commonwealth of Nations'. Most other colonies, beginning with India and Pakistan, were granted independence by Britain after 1945, and most of them joined the Commonwealth. Immigration from former territories in the Caribbean and the South Asian sub-continent was substantial in the 1950s and 1960s, forming the basis of the minority ethnic population in Britain today.


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  • - The end of Empire

    Partition of Ireland The formal connection between Great Britain and Ireland dates from the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. In the late 1550s and early 1600s English and Scottish Protestants migrated to the northern province of Ulster, their religion setting diem apart from die other, indigenous Roman Catholic inhabitants of Ireland. In 1801 Ireland was unified with Great Britain, but Irish Nationalists continued to campaign in the 19th and early 20th centuries, for some... [читать подробенее]