By Stephen Howe
More and more historians, political commentators, and cultural critics have sought to research Ireland's prior and found in colonial phrases. For a few, together with Irish Republicans, it's the basically right framework for figuring out eire. Others reject the very use of the colonial label for Ireland's heritage; among a few Ulster Unionists the time period is greeted with outrage. This ebook evaluates and analyzes those controversies, which variety from debates over the traditional and medieval earlier to these in present literary and postcolonial concept. Scholarly, now and then polemical, it's the such a lot finished examine of those issues ever to seem. it is going to surely arouse sharp controversy.
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Extra resources for Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture
11 None of the upheavals of the succeeding centuries destroyed the essential continuity of the central ruling institutions, Crown and Parliament: not the dynastic Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth, nor the switchback ride of religious changes in the sixteenth, nor even the powerstruggle between the institutions themselves in the seventeenth. Maybe more important than all these were the successive extensions and rationalisations of power which they undertook, usually, in tandem, creating a small but effective state bureaucracy, national systems of taxation and legal regulation, and bringing the Church under governmental control.
But even then, Scotland’s was a significantly weaker monarchy than England’s—its finances shakier, its aristocracy more fractiously independent, its writ running less surely in remoter regions of the country. Ireland was little if any more of a political unit than was Wales, and far less of one than England had already become by the eleventh century. It could nonetheless be claimed that it was at least as much of a cultural unit as was England or Scotland: it was developing a single language, albeit composed of numerous regional dialects, a flourishing literature—especially epic poetry both secular and religious—in that language, and a distinctive church organisation.
As Steven Ellis points out, using the vocabulary of ‘colonisation’ for medieval or early modern Ireland is little if any less problematic than use of ‘colonialism’: Should a distinction be made, for instance, between the introduction of English colonists in Co. Clare by the Gaelic earl of Thomond in the later sixteenth century and their introduction in Ulster following the expropriation of Gaelic lords? And what of the displacement of Gaelic proprietors in Ulster by Gaelic MacDonalds from Scotland?